Police: 2 ejected in crash during 100+ mph police chase, man charged

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 1:30 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 1:31 PM EDT
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BUCKHANNON, W.Va (WDTV) - A man has been charged after officers said he was behind the wheel during a police chase when he crashed, leading to himself and a passenger being ejected.

Officers saw a car being driven by 27-year-old Elijah Carpenter leave a bar parking lot on Sept. 29, 2022, stop the car facing north on South Kanawha St., get out and go back into the bar, according to a criminal complaint.

Officers said Carpenter got back behind the wheel after about two minutes and quickly drive away toward W. Main St. Officers then watched him drive down S. Kanawha St. at 29 mph and nearly hit a pickup truck.

When officers started following the car, Carpenter reportedly sped up to 60 mph and then to 80 mph when officers turned on their emergency lights.

As more officers joined the chase, Carpenter drove at speeds exceeding 100 mph, nearly hit several cars, crossed yellow lines, and ran red lights, the report says.

Court documents say Carpenter crashed in the 3300 block of Route 20 south. Officers reported seeing the car “bouncing and spinning out of control.”

Officers said nobody was in the vehicle, further saying the passenger was unconscious on the ground near the vehicle bleeding from his head.

Officers then saw several beer cans that left the car in the crash before finding Carpenter face-down against a guardrail, also being ejected from the car and bleeding from his head, the report says.

After speaking with both Carpenter and his passenger, officers said they were taken to the hospital for treatment.

On Oct. 5, officers checked his medical records, and determined he had an approximate BAC of .202 at the time of the crash.

Officers said they then received copies of Facebook messages from Carpenter about the incident in January. He allegedly said to a woman he did not want to go to the bar that night. A man also messaged him about “coming clean” about the incident.

The report says officers obtained a phone call earlier this month from Tygart Valley Regional Jail on Sept. 29 between Carpenter and the owner of the car involved in the crash.

Within that conversation, Carpenter said he was “drunk and running from the law” and that he “had the cops smoked.”

Carpenter has been charged with fleeing with reckless indifference and fleeing from an officer. He is being held at Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $75,000 cash-only bond.