Traffic stop escalates intoa hot Friday night scene
Donna Lynn Walter, 35, of Independence Street, Berkeley Springs, was arrested Friday night, April 13, by town police for disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.
Police said the incident occurred shortly after Town of Bath Corporal Craig Pearrell and Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Seth Place responded to a 911 call about an attempted break-in at Mike's Garage on North Mercer Street.
The officers started to search the area for the suspect. While driving west on Independence Street, Pearrell noticed a red Honda Prelude with four juveniles inside. The car was backing out of a driveway. A male juvenile in the back seat was smoking and flicking ashes out of a rear window.
Pearrell asked Place to be on the lookout for the vehicle and Place soon informed Pearrell that he was stopping the car on Mercer Street across from the Berkeley Springs Fire Hall.
Place confiscated a pack of cigarettes from the juvenile and cited him for smoking as a minor, according to Chief Deputy Vince Shambaugh of the Sheriff's Department. Place asked the four occupants of the vehicle to stand away from the car while he walked the Sheriff Department's dog around the vehicle.
The dog indicated there may be drugs present, but a search of the vehicle didn't turn up any, according to police.
Place then patted down the two females and two male occupants of the vehicle, searching for drugs.
One of the female juveniles called her mother on a cell phone and said the police were searching her and that she thought she was about to be arrested.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the Magistrate Court, Pearrell was talking to the driver when Donna Walter rapidly walked toward him screaming obscenities.
Pearrell informed the woman that he was not the officer who stopped the car. Then, Walter ran up to Place and reportedly started screaming and cursing at him. Place told her numerous times to calm down and go home.
When Pearrell learned that the two female juveniles in the vehicle were Walter's daughters, he tried to calm her down. He told her she needed to go home and that she could take her daughters with her. But Walter continued to yell and curse at Pearrell.
By then, the incident had attracted a crowd. State Trooper J.C. McDonald arrived to help with crowd control.
Walter's husband arrived and Pearrell tried to explain the situation to him, but Walter continued her verbal assault, police said.
Pearrell told Walter to leave, but she refused. When Pearrell told her to leave or she would be arrested, Walter came at Pearrell who grabbed her right wrist to arrest her. She attempted to take a swing at the officer and he forced her to the ground and handcuffed her, according to the court papers.
Walter then yelled that her back was injured, so Pearrell called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. He also called Town Police Chief James Minton, who arrived at the scene and took statements from witnesses.
Walter was checked at the hospital and released. Then she was transported to the Town Police Department for processing on the charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.