Man gets jail time for fleeing police, court settles 2005 indictment

by Kate Shunney

A Mt. Nebo, W.Va. man was sentenced last month for reckless fleeing from police during a May 2021 incident in Berkeley Springs.

Bradley R. Backus, 42, was convicted by a local jury in March of fleeing from law enforcement in reckless disregard and destruction of property.

In June, Circuit Court Judge Debra McLaughlin sentenced Backus to 1-5 years for the felony fleeing charge, and to 332 days in jail for misdemeanor destruction of property with damages under $2,500. The two sentences will run consecutively and Backus received credit for time served in jail. Alternative sentencing for Backus was denied. He must also pay a $1,000 fine for the felony fleeing charge. Court records indicate he has paid the homeowner whose property he damaged as he fled from police up onto Cornelius Avenue in his vehicle.

In other court hearings, Clarissa M. Twigg, 25, of Cumberland pled guilty to misdemeanor possession of heroin. Twigg and her husband were found in a Jeep at the Paw Paw gas station, and officers discovered a large quantity of heroin capsules in the vehicle. She was sentenced to six months in jail. Jail time was suspended for one year of supervised probation and Twigg must seek drug rehabilitation.

Revisiting 2005 indictment

Court officials resolved an outstanding indictment from 2005 during a recent hearing.

Michael E. Neff, 39, of Strasburg, Va. was sentenced earlier this term to one year in jail after pleading guilty to the grand larceny of an ATV from Ridersville Cycle in 2004.

Neff was indicted in January of 2005, but he was never picked up for the felony offense. An arrest warrant for Neff was served at the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg in December 2021 – the first time he was taken into custody for the 2004 theft.

Neff never showed up for his arraignment in January of 2005.

The state had to ask Neff where he had been for the previous 17 years, according to court records.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan James said it appears Neff had been in Delaware for some time, and had been on parole from Maryland corrections at some point.

Neff’s jail time on the Morgan County charge was suspended for two years’ probation and he must pay a $500 fine. James said the ATV from the theft was recovered at the time.