An attempted traffic stop ended in tragedy early Saturday morning when a Nicholas County man fleeing police lost control of the stolen pickup he was driving, struck a tree and died in the wreckage.
According to a media release issued by Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan, the driver was identified as Christopher Sigman, 24, of Summersville. Two passengers, who were also from Nicholas County, were treated at a local hospital and released.
The incident occurred on Anjean Road near Rupert shortly after 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Sloan said Greenbrier Sheriff’s Deputy Z.H. Hudnall tried to make a traffic stop on the Ford pickup driven by Sigman at around 1:28 a.m., but when the deputy activated his emergency lights, the truck accelerated away.
Hudnall tried to keep the vehicle in view as he followed the truck, but lost sight of it “for a few moments,” Sloan said in the release. Initially thinking the driver had turned off onto a side road when he saw lights in the distance, Hudnall instead came upon the pickup where it had smashed into a tree, the driver having apparently “failed to negotiate a sharp turn at the intersection at Duo,” Sloan wrote. The impact was on the driver’s side.
“Both passengers advised they attempted to convince the driver to stop for the officer, however he refused to do so,” Sloan wrote.
The pickup truck was reported stolen in North Carolina, and the license plates were stolen from a different vehicle, according to the release. In addition, Sigman personally was armed with a handgun. An AK47 assault rifle was found inside the truck’s passenger compartment, and 59 grams of marijuana and 4.5 grams of methamphetamine were recovered at the scene.
Neither of the passengers was arrested, the sheriff told The Register-Herald.
“They were not involved with any criminal activity,” Sloan said. “They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The West Virginia State Police assisted with the investigation.