FAIRMONT — A 21-year-old Baxter man was arrested after he allegedly fled police July 8 in Fairmont in a stolen vehicle, according to criminal complaints.
The complaints state that Damien Allen Connell of 12 Underwood St. Apt. 1, Baxter, is charged with fleeing from an officer in a vehicle with reckless disregard and grand larceny. Both are felonies.
According to the court papers, a Fairmont Police Department patrolman responded July 8 to an address on Locust Avenue in Fairmont for a report of a vehicle theft.
The person identified in the complaint as the victim said his burgundy 2016 Chrysler 200 worth more than $1,000 was stolen, along with the key fob. The victim named Damien Connell as a suspect, according to the court papers.
He said that Connell was helping with work around his residence and was allowed to have access to the house to use the bathroom.
After completing the vehicle theft report, the officer stepped outside the Fairmont Police Department, and a sergeant pointed out a vehicle at the intersection of Madison Street and Pennsylvania Avenue matching the description of the stolen vehicle. The vehicle appeared to be about to turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue. The officer responded to the location in his vehicle. As he passed Madison Street, the officer could see a vehicle that matched the description further down Madison Street. The officer turned around on Pennsylvania Avenue and headed back to the intersection of Madison Street.
As the officer approached Madison Street, a burgundy Chrysler 200 began to pull out onto Quincy Street, and the officer allegedly was able to identify the driver as Damien Connell, according to the complaints.
Turning on his emergency lights, the officer tried to stop on the vehicle, but Connell allegedly turned abruptly right onto Quincy Street and began fleeing. The officer allegedly was able to verify, by the registration on the vehicle, that it was the stolen Chrysler 200, the complaints state. Connell then allegedly turned down Jackson Street, and ran the red light at the intersection of Madison Street. Then, Connell allegedly turned onto Jefferson Street, reaching speeds of 50 mph in a 25 mph zone while weaving in and out of traffic to evade the officer. According to the court papers, Connell allegedly continued across the Jefferson Street Bridge at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic, and then entered the Gateway Connector. An area of the Connector was blocked off as an active work site, and Connell allegedly crossed into the blocked-off area to pass vehicles, which put road construction workers in danger, the complaints state.
According to the complaints, Connell allegedly continued up the Connector at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, and then turned onto the Interstate 79 south on-ramp and continued fleeing. The pursuit continued south into Lewis County, where Connell stopped and was arrested, the complaints state.
Court records show Connell’s bail was set at $75,012. He is in Central Regional Jail.