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Whoever happens to stop by this blog may wonder why I started it. Whenever I read news stories online I always like to put a face to the story. So I got to thinking maybe other people would as well. I always keep up on WV news and most stories don't have the mugshots with them so I hunt them up online and post them with the story. It's not that hard and I don't know why the state news sites don't do it

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

72 yr old man arrested

MARTINSBURG -A 72-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested on two counts of attempted murder Tuesday afternoon after allegedly almost running over at least two police officers during a bizarre police pursuit on Interstate 81.

Thomas Reginald Fleming, of State Line, Pa., also faces charges of attempted malicious assault, reckless driving, destruction of property and fleeing in a vehicle from a law enforcement officer.

"The Interstate was extremely busy at that time ... fortunately he got stopped before he could hurt anybody," Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth "Kenny" Lemaster Jr. said Tuesday night.

When then pursuit finally came to an end, Lemaster said Fleming's minivan had four flat tires caused by police stop sticks, and he was driving on the vehicle's exposed rims.

Several police cruisers were damaged during the pursuit, though Lemaster said they appear to be repairable.

According to a news release, the pursuit began shortly after Deputy Bruce White of Berkeley County Sheriff's Department was dispatched to I-81 South for a report of a reckless driver. Central dispatchers told White that they had received several calls about a vehicle that had stopped in traffic on the Interstate, police said.

When White arrived in the area of the southbound 16 mile marker, he spotted the vehicle in the center lane traveling at about 10 mph. White tried to gain the driver's attention by using his lights and siren, but Fleming continued to travel south without acknowledging the officer's presence, police said.

When White looked into the minivan, he noticed the driver had both hands on the steering wheel with his head tilted, and he appeared like he might have passed out. When White pulled up to the driver's side of the vehicle and looked in again, Fleming's head popped up and he was looking straight ahead.

Fleming then started to speed up to about 40 mph and continued to travel south on I-81 without stopping for the deputy.

Several other deputies responded to the area, including Deputy Daniel Clarke and Deputy J.H. Jenkins, who both set up positions at the 12 mile marker to assist White. As they approached the 12 mile marker, Clarke and Jenkins moved their vehicles around the suspect's van in an attempt to box the vehicle in and stop it, police said.

Fleming initially started to slow down and came to a stop. Clarke and Jenkins approached the van, but Fleming accelerated, almost running Clarke over before veering toward Jenkins. Jenkins was able to jump out of the way.

Fleming then continued to flee, traveling south on I-81 with deputies continuing to follow him. White passed Fleming's van in an attempt to slow him down. At about the 8 mile marker, deputies slowed the suspect down to about 15 to 20 mph.

Fleming then turned into the median and crossed over to the northbound side of I-81, before accelerating to speeds of about 100 mph. At several times during the pursuit, Fleming attempted to ram and hit police cruisers involved in the chase, police said.

With the pursuit ongoing, additional deputies and West Virginia State Police troopers started to respond to the area to provide assistance. Several police units went to the 15 mile marker and deployed spike strips in order to slow Fleming's van down. Once Fleming ran over the spike strips, his van slowed down and drifted into the median, where it finally came to a stop after making contain with the median cable barriers.

Several officers were able to gain control of Fleming and he was arrested.

Fleming was taken to Eastern Regional Jail to await arraignment by Magistrate Sandra Miller.


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