By Shawn Stinson
A Grant County resident is facing a felony charge of fleeing in a vehicle related to a July 28 incident.
Benjamin Howard Smith, 45, of Corner Road in Maysville, is facing a charge of fleeing in a vehicle in an incident that began in Grant County.
Authorities allege Smith attempted to allude law enforcement officers in Grant County and was driving south on U.S. Highway 220 towards Pendleton County. Grant County authorities contacted Pendleton 911 dispatchers to inform them Smith was in a high-speed pursuit.
Pendleton County Sheriff Chad Bowers, Chief Deputy Andy Hinkle, Deputy Matt Kontyko and West Virginia State Police Trooper Kevin Raymond responded to the call and drove towards the Upper Tract area. The responding law enforcement officers prepared for the vehicles to drive into the area.
Grant County Sheriff Brian Ours informed the officers the unknown individual was driving a white Dodge Challenger with a black hood. Ours said he had “lost sight” of the vehicle near Jake Hill Road. He added the driver of the Challenger was travelling “at a high-rate of speed” and “taking blind turns in the northbound lane of traffic.”
Grant County authorities were able to end the pursuit and detained the individuals inside the vehicle. Moments after the vehicle was stopped, the Pendleton County authorities arrived at the scene. It was at this time Grant County authorities stated Deborah Stumbo was driving the Challenge at the conclusion of the pursuit. The other individual in the vehicle – Smith – was in the passenger seat.
The pair was taken into custody and Smith admitted to Grant County authorities he was driving the vehicle at the time of the high-speed pursuit. In a written statement to authorities, Stumbo confirmed Smith was the driver before switching places when authorities lost sight of them near Jake Hill Road. She added at one point during the pursuit she noted Smith was travelling at 115 miles per hour or greater.
Smith is facing one felony and two misdemeanor charges in Grant County related to the pursuit.
All individuals are innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
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