Firefighter Arrested After Leading Police on Chase

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

WINFIELD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A firefighter from Charleston was arrested after police say he ran them off the road, led them on a chase and was driving drunk.

Grant Kelly Gunnoe Jr., 39, of Winfield, was charged with fleeing DUI and obstructing and officer. Police say his blood alcohol content was 0.282% more than three times the legal limit.

Police say they saw a white 1995 Ford Bronco speeding near the 2900 block of Route 817 in Winfield. Officers say Gunnoe Jr. was driving and failed to slow down as he traveled through a traffic safety enforcement checkpoint. Officers had to leap from the roadway for their safety, according to Chief John Perrine.

Chief Perrine tells he chased the Ford Bronco and had his lights and sirens going, as Gunnoe Jr.'s SUV drove left of center and even passed another car in a no passing zone near Water Circle in Winfield.

The Bronco continued speeding out of city limits and Perrine was able to pull alongside the suspect, making visual contact with him, motioning to pull over and stop. However, the driver sped up and took off.

Other officers responded and were able to box Gunnoe Jr.'s Bronco in and eventually able to bring the SUV to a stop three miles from where the pursuit began near the Hidden Cove Marina.

Police say repeated, verbal commands were ignored by Gunnoe Jr. and he had to be pulled from the vehicle at gun point. Gunnoe Jr. was taken to the ground and handcuffed.

Chief Perrine says they had trouble moving Gunnoe Jr. into the back of a cruiser because he was incoherent and had a lack of motor skills, even falling back to the roadway.

Police say they could smell alcohol on Gunnoe Jr. who later admitted to drinking two beers at a bar, however, he initially refused to take a field sobriety test. Later, a test found he was three times over the legal limit.

Gunnoe Jr. asked police for leniency because he was a Charleston firefighter, according to officers.

According to Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet, Gunnoe Jr. is still a firefighter with the City of Charleston.

Gunnoe is in the Western Regional Jail.

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