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Police chase ends in suspects death

August 17th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports a woman's abduction in Delaware ended Thursday near Grant County Memorial Hospital when the suspect crashed his vehicle and took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to West Virginia State Police. The suspect, Stephen R. Smith, lost control of the vehicle about 11:30 a.m. on state Routes 28/55 near Petersburg after it was pursued by police in a 16-mile chase through two counties.

The suspect’s estranged wife, Jordan Cahall, was found in the back seat of the vehicle. She suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and was taken to the Grant Memorial Hospital, police said.


No officers were injured in the incident that began at 11:10 a.m. with a sighting of the suspect Ford Focus vehicle on U.S. Route 220 by Moorefield Police Chief S.D. Reckart, a retired West Virginia State Police first lieutenant with 26 years' service.


The pursuit extended through Moorefield city streets and eventually to U.S. Route 220 where stop sticks were used by state police to damage the tires of the suspect vehicle. However, the suspect with his wife continued to flee.

A rolling roadblock was attempted by Grant County Sheriff Brian Ours and Chief Deputy Steven Wratchford before Smith struck both vehicles. Upon impact, the suspect vehicle slid out of control and then struck an embankment. As officers approached the crashed vehicle, it was determined the suspect was dead of the self-inflicted gunshot wound.


The sighting came less than 2 1/2 hours after Delaware State Police notified authorities in Grant and Hardy counties that the suspect was tracked by telephone traces to the area.

Reckart said the pursuit covered about 16 miles and reached speeds up to 70 miles per hour. The stop sticks deployed by state police apparently helped bring the incident to a close.

"Once he had damage to his tire, the suspect was trying to maintain control of the vehicle," Reckart said.

Up to 15 police vehicles were involved in the pursuit. The agencies included West Virginia State Police, Hardy, Grant and Hampshire county sheriff's departments and the Department of Natural Resources. A West Virginia State Police helicopter and troopers from Elkins were among the responding units.

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