Man leads police on chase from down town through part of county
Bath Police Corporal Craig Pearrell charged a Berkeley Springs man with a series of traffic offenses following a long chase on Thursday afternoon, June 21.
Pearrell was parked in the parking lot of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church at 3:18 p.m. when he recognized Dustin Hinkle, 22, of Blazer Lane passing by in a small gray car. Pearrell believed Hinkle's driver's license had been suspended and pulled onto Washington Street to follow the car.
Hinkle appeared to be preparing to turn east on Rt. 9. but when Pearrell turned on his overhead lights, Hinkle made an abrupt turn onto Warren Street and sped up the hill, tires spinning and fishtailing, according to Pearrell's criminal complaint.
Pearrell said that as he followed the vehicle up the hill, Hinkle turned right on Green Street without stopping at the sign, running another car off the road, before going east on Rt. 9.
Again Hinkle did not stop at a stop sign and almost hit a Morgan County trash truck, running it off the road, according to police.
Hinkle swerved into the path of an oncoming car, causing it to run off the side of Rt. 9 barely missing an embankment, Pearrell said.
When Pearrell caught up to the car, he allegedly clocked it on radar doing 52 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone. Hinkle then passed a car across the double line almost striking another vehicle head-on, according to police.
Pearrell continued to follow the vehicle with his siren and lights on and called for backup on the radio.
Hinkle turned on New Hope Road, then onto Fearnow Road. The car crossed Johnson Mill Road to Waugh Road without stopping for the stop sign, Pearrell said.
On Waugh Road, Hinkle's vehicle almost rear-ended a car, causing it to veer off the road, Pearrell reported.
Hinkle turned left on Rt. 13 without stopping for a sign and then turned left again on Henry O. Michael Road, Pearrell said.
Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy T. Link had blocked the intersection of Henry O. Michael Road and Johnson Mill Road with his patrol car.
Police said Hinkle did not slow down and approached Deputy Link at a high rate of speed, swerving at the last second between Link's patrol car and a stop sign.
Link then took up the pursuit on Johnson Mill Road. Hinkle pulled off into the woods just before Blazer Lane, according to police.
Hinkle was able to elude police who could not follow him through the woods with their larger vehicles.
At that point, Bath Town Police Chief James Minton called off the chase. "We knew who he was and knew we would eventually catch him," Minton said.
Police staked out Hinkle's house on Blazer Lane, but Hinkle did not return that evening.
Acting on a tip on June 27, Minton, Pearrell and Deputy Sheriff T. Johnson surrounded Hinkle's house and demanded that he surrender. When they received no response, Pearrell entered the house and found Hinkle hiding in the bathroom.
Pearrell said Hinkle struggled when Pearrell tried to arrest him.
Hinkle was arraigned in Magistrate Court on Friday, June 27 on misdemeanor charges of fleeing in a vehicle, driving with a revoked license, failure to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving, passing in a no passing zone and speeding in a business district. Other charges are being considered. Hinkle is in Eastern Regional Jail awaiting trial.