Buckhannon Fire Department Lt. Tanner Smith, Cpl. Tanner Collins with the Upshur County Sheriff's Office and WVSP Trooper F.J. Turansky pursue Corey Tanner of Weston in the fire department's swift water rescue boat after Tanner swam down the middle of the Buckhannon River to evade officers. / Photos by Katie Kuba

Weston man who was apprehended after Buckhannon River boat chase flees hospital, is now facing three felonies

BUCKHANNON – A Lewis County man who was apprehended by police after jumping into the Buckhannon River is now facing three felony charges after allegedly fleeing on foot a second time from St. Joseph’s Hospital, according to the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office.

Upshur County Sheriff Mike Coffman said the ordeal started the night before, on Thursday, July 20, when deputies were searching for Corey D. Tanner, 34, of Weston. Tanner was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant out of Lewis County for second-offense unlawful taking of a vehicle — often referred to as joyriding — but law enforcement officers eventually terminated the pursuit when Tanner evaded capture.

But according to radio traffic, the pursuit resumed at approximately 11:40 a.m. Friday.

“Deputies were looking for him again today, and when they found him and turned on their lights and sirens, he immediately hit the gas and took off and was driving into other lanes and swerving,” Coffman said Friday.

Coffman said Friday’s pursuit began when investigating officer Sgt. Theron Caynor located Tanner on Rhododendron Lane — near the Poe Bridge — and the chase extended only as far as the Little Sand Run Road area near Ralph’s Furniture & Mattress. Tanner eventually jumped out of the moving vehicle and into the Buckhannon River to avoid officers.

“[The vehicle] wasn’t going super-fast when he jumped out, but it kept rolling, and he jumped in the river, swam down the middle of the river, and officers called for assistance from the Buckhannon Fire Department,” the sheriff said. “Our officer, Deputy Tanner Collins, and State Trooper Frank Turansky were in the fire department boat.”

As law enforcement and firefighters approached in the fire department’s swift water rescue boat, Tanner exited the river on the bank near the Buckhannon Union Mission Church. According to radio traffic, he was apprehended and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for evaluation after complaining of exhaustion from being in the river.

But the story didn’t end there.

“He was taken up to the hospital to get medically cleared, which is pretty standard, and as they were performing some tests, the individual took off on foot and ran out of the hospital,” Coffman said. “They ended up recapturing him just a short distance from the hospital.”

Tanner is now facing the original felony charge as well as two additional felony charges: fleeing with reckless indifference to the safety of others and escape from custody. The crime of joyriding, or the unlawful taking of a vehicle, means someone has taken another person’s automobile without the consent of the owner — but also without the intent to deprive the owner permanently of the vehicle, Coffman said.

While first-offense joyriding qualifies as a misdemeanor, second offense is classified as a felony.

Sgt. Mark Stewart with the Buckhannon Police Department keeps watch from the Poe Bridge.
Members of the Buckhannon Fire Department find a spot to put the swift water the Buckhannon River.
Picture, from left, are Cpl. T.R. Collins with the sheriff’s office, WVSP Trooper F.J. Turansky and fire department Captain Brian Elmore on scene.
Firefighters and police take off after Tanner, who was apparently swimming down the middle of the Buckhannon River.

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