Return to News

Pedestrians leap out of way of police chase

(September 10) The Associated Press

LOGAN -- A high-speed chase that zipped by children exiting a school bus and caused construction workers and pedestrians to leap out of the way was the talk of town Wednesday.

"It was wild," said Mike Gunnells, one of the hundreds of residents who witnessed Tuesday's 15-minute, 7-mile chase that roared through police roadblocks at speeds in excess of 100 mph. "It ain't something you usually see around here."

"It seems like everybody in Logan County was on the road that day because everyone is asking me about it," said State Police Trooper C.J. White, who participated in the chase.

The chase started around 3 p.m. Tuesday when Donald J. Spears, 25, of Logan, was pulled over by West Logan Patrolwoman J.L. Pace for driving with an expired registration.

"I just went to make a routine traffic stop ... and he just hit the gas," Pace said Wednesday.

Pace immediately called for backup and was soon joined by six police cruisers from Logan and the State Police, she said.

Spears raced through West Logan at speeds exceeding 100 mph, then drove on state Route 10, a busy highway that runs through Logan, White said.

"We've had some pretty bad pursuits since I've been a trooper and as far as I'm concerned this was the most dangerous one I've seen," White said. "There were kids getting off the school bus and people coming home from work."

No one was injured during the chase -- something witnesses said was a miracle.

"I thought he was going to stop when they set up the first road block but he didn't, and I knew he would do anything to get away," Pace said. "We were real lucky no one got hurt. I was real scared, especially for the pedestrians and the school children."

Gunnells said he was stuck in construction zone traffic when Spears raced by him on a section of highway closed for repairs. Spear's vehicle narrowly missed a woman directing traffic with a flag, he said.

State Police were about to call off the pursuit when Trooper S.E. Wolfe bumped Spears' black Chevrolet Camaro and Spears surrendered.

For Pace, an officer on the job for four months, her first police chase will be one she says she'll never forget.

"I was real, real happy at the ending that no one got hurt and all the officers are safe," Pace said.

Spears was charged with fleeing in a vehicle from police, driving on a revoked license, reckless driving, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, no insurance, failure to yield to a school bus, expired registration, obstructing and assault on a police officer.

He was freed Wednesday after posting $5,000 bond in Logan County Magistrate Court. Directory Assistance had no listing for Spears.