Police arrest driver after downtown pursuit

by Lisa Schauer

West Virginia State Police officers arrested Bradley Backus, 41, of Mt. Nebo, on Thursday, May 27 and charged him with fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the Morgan County Magistrate’s Court, Cpl. S.R. Smith heard radio chatter of an officer in pursuit of a silver Mazda with a West Virginia license plate. When he responded at 4:39 p.m., Cpl. Smith observed the Mazda heading straight toward him on Greenway Street.

In his report, Smith said Cpl. V.E. Branham had been in pursuit but his cruiser was disabled.

The suspect, later identified as Backus, fled north on U.S. 522, traveling through town — at times in the southbound lane – among traffic. The officer continued in pursuit as the vehicle turned west on Fairfax Street, where several pedestrians were present, and headed up Cornelius Street behind Berkeley Springs State Park.

The suspect’s vehicle collided with a chain link fence located at a dead-end driveway. Backus got out of his vehicle and Cpl. Smith  pursued him on foot. The suspect then got back in his vehicle and tried to flee,striking a resident’s deck structure and disabling his vehicle.

Cpl. Smith took Backus into custody. Officers from Morgan County Sherriff’s Department also responded to the incident.

Backus is currently incarcerated at Eastern Regional Jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond.