The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 17, 2014

Suspects lead police on 90 minute chase

MATOAKA — Two Mercer County men were arrested Wednesday afternoon after leading five law enforcement officers on a 90-minute chase through back roads from Matoaka to Gardner before their arrest in a stolen vehicle that had been taken from South Charleston on Tuesday.

The two men — one 21 and the other 20 — were suspects in two breaking & entering cases and a grand larceny that Matoaka Police Chief John Sommers was investigating. Sommers said he approached the apartment where the two men were staying at about 12:40 p.m., and the two men escaped into an alley, and fled from Matoaka in a stolen blue, 2005 Durango SUV.

“The two men were suspects in the theft of a 2003 Fox & Thompson van,” Sommers said. He added that he later recovered the van, as well as a heat pump and some ladders that were in the back of van. Sommers said that the tools inside the van were all missing when he recovered it.

When Sommers initiated the pursuit, several other law enforcement agencies joined Sommers in the search for the fleeing suspects. Law enforcement officers searched River Road, Kegley School Road, as well as other roads on the Lashmeet, Matoaka, Lake Bottom and Spanishburg areas. In addition to Matoaka, the West Virginia State Police, Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, the state Division of Natural Resources and Athens Police Department all joined in on the pursuit.

The suspects were captured, “without incident” on Gardner Road near the intersection with Rocky Branch Road, Sommers said.

“I’m not going to release the names of the suspects right now because the case is still under investigation,” Sommers said.

He added that the two are now in custody on charges including fleeing in a vehicle, reckless driving, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

— Contact Bill Archer at

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