CHAPMANVILLE — A fugitive should always keep his vehicle’s equipment in good working order. Chapmanville police officers attempted to stop a vehicle with a broken tail light, but the driver fled, starting a chase that ended with a fugitive wanted for attempted murder back behind bars and facing 17 additional charges.
According to Lt. D.A. Browning, Corporal L. Preece of the Chapmanville Police Department attempted to pull the vehicle over by activating his emergency lights. The vehicle failed to pull over and after a run of the license plate, the officer found it to be a vehicle stolen from Kentucky.
Preece pursued the vehicle up Godby Branch and onto a road believed to be on gas company property. The vehicle hit a red gate blocking its way and tore it down. After continuing a ways off road and uphill, the vehicle’s two occupants jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot, leaving the car with the doors open, its radiator steaming and having done approximately $1,000 in damage to property.
The Chapmanville Police Department was assisted by West Virginia State Police and the Logan County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit as they searched the woods for hours.
During that time, police received a tip the suspects had made it back to Chapmanville by going through the woods.
The officers also learned their suspects were William Mitchell Pope, 32, of North Carolina, who was wanted on attempted murder charges, and Jealene Kistler, also of North Carolina, who was wanted for breaking and entering. The criminal complaint says Kistler gave a statement to police she had been with Pope, helped him steal a car in Kentucky and was also with him when he ran from the police in Chapmanville.
Pope went to the home of a couple who stated to police he told them he needed help, he was wanted for attempted murder and car theft and he had just run from police. The couple told the officers Pope was muddy and dirty.
Police say Pope was back in the area looking up a longtime ex-girlfriend, who had been injured by Pope in the past. Officers located the girlfriend who said she had received calls and texts from Pope saying he was coming to Chapmanville. She said she received texts and calls later asking for help because he had run from police.
Another tip came in advising officers Pope had checked into a local motel. He was apprehended, along with Kistler about an hour later.
Pope was arrested and charged with speeding, no insurance, no proof of insurance, fleeing - vehicle, fleeing - vehicle property damage, defective equipment, left of center, driving reckless, failure to report accident, accident - leaving scene property damage, failure to yield to emergency vehicle, obstructing an officer, fleeing - no vehicle, destruction of property, bringing stolen property into West Virginia, unattended vehicle and stolen vehicle transferring. His bond was set at $75,000.
Pope is wanted in North Carolina and is the suspect of a stolen vehicle investigation in Kentucky.