High-speed chase ends in an arrest

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 9:07 AM EST
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A driver sped off after being pulled over by a Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputy Tuesday evening along Campbells Creek Drive near Malden, West Virginia.

According to Sgt. Brian Humphreys, when the deputy approached the vehicle the driver, Bradley Owen Ellis, 33, of Harts took off.

The criminal complaint states that when the deputy ran the vehicle’s registration through the DMV’s automated files, the registration plate was not assigned to the vehicle Ellis was driving.

Officials say the deputy sheriff caught up with Ellis when he pulled into the Shell gas station. At that time, a passenger began to exit the vehicle. However, when Ellis spotted the deputy, he pulled out of the gas station with a passenger partially out of the vehicle.

The criminal complaint states that the passenger’s leg and arm were seen swinging from the vehicle as it pulled out of the parking lot before the door was shut.

From the gas station, Ellis took off onto Interstate 64 toward Charleston, passing illegally on the shoulders of the road at high rates of speed.

“While on the interstate, the vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic, nearly hit a semi-truck and was passing vehicles in the emergency lane,” the criminal complaint continues.

At another gas station, the GoMart along Bigley Avenue in Charleston, officials say the car slowed down.

Sgt. Humphreys says pursuing deputies kept a safe distance away as two passengers got out of the vehicle. Ellis then drove off, and the chase resumed.

Officials say Ellis hit a Charleston Police cruiser with his vehicle before heading south on U.S. 119 into Boone County.

In Boone County, Ellis’ vehicle ran out of gas and came to a stop near the 60-mile marker of US 119 South.

“Sometimes someone will crash into another vehicle that is not involved, they’ll damage property in a crash, they’ll close a roadway while their car gets wrecked into a median wall,” Sgt. Humphreys said. “The congestion itself is at least an inconvenience to other people, if it’s not a danger to others depending on the time of day and the conditions. We don’t like any of those outcomes. In this situation, this person ran out of gas in a more remote stretch of highway at an early morning hour. That’s a pretty good outcome, all things considered.”

The arresting deputy recorded that Ellis had constricted pinpoint pupils, droopy eyelids and fresh injection sites in the crook of his right arm.

Two uncapped syringes and a balled-up piece of aluminum foil were found inside of the vehicle.

Ellis admitted to recently injecting heroin and/or fentanyl, officials say.

Ellis was arrested and charged with reckless indifference, fleeing while driving under the influence (DUI), driving with a license revoked for DUI third offense, and DUI.

Ellis’s West Virginia driver’s license was revoked for an active DUI in 2010. Ellis also has two previous convictions for driving with a revoked license for DUI through Wyoming Coming Magistrate Court and Raleigh County Magistrate Court.

No one was injured in the pursuit or crash in Charleston.

“Don’t drink and drive,” Sgt. Humphreys said as a warning ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Don’t do drugs and drive. Stay out of the car if you are not safe to drive. Also, if you see someone who is behaving that way, you think that their driving is erratic and you suspect because they are under the influence of something, give us a call. If you are just traveling and you don’t see those things, be aware. Be alert of the things around you. It is a very dangerous situation to have people on the road who are under the influence of something else.”

Assistance in the pursuit was provided by the Charleston Police Department, Boone County Sheriff’s Office, and West Virginia State Police.

Additional charges may be filed by the Charleston Police Department relating to the crash involving a cruiser.

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