Mannington man arrested after police pursuit

Austin Jaylock Gump

MANNINGTON — Police say a 23-year-old Mannington man drove his ATV at “an extremely dangerous speed” during a police pursuit earlier this month in Mannington after nearly striking a U.S. mail vehicle in the road.

According to a criminal complaint, Austin Jaylock Gump of 817 Laurel Dr., Mannington is charged with felony fleeing with reckless indifference. Court records show he was placed in the North Central Regional Jail Tuesday with his bail set at $100,012 after a warrant was served.

According to the court papers, the Mannington Police Chief received a complaint Dec. 5 of two ATVs racing on Laurel Drive. The chief was told the ATVs were said to have pulled into a driveway at a residence, which was reportedly Gump’s residence at 817 Laurel Dr. The chief then saw a red ATV that he knew belonged to Gump parked in the driveway of Gump’s residence, in addition to a yellow ATV parked in the driveway, the complaint states. The chief said he saw Gump and an unknown male standing on the porch. Later that day, the chief spoke with someone who said he had video of Gump riding the red ATV on the roadway.

On Dec. 6, the police chief saw Gump’s ATV parked at an address on Meadow Avenue, the complaint states. The chief parked his cruiser on Laurel Drive to observe traffic, and a couple of minutes later, he saw a male he knew to be Gump operating the ATV on Meadow Avenue and turn right onto Laurel Drive, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that the ATV did not have the required ATV permit attached to it. Then, the chief caught up to the ATV right before 817 Laurel Dr. and activated his emergency lights. According to the court papers, Gump saw the chief behind him and “rapidly accelerated” out Laurel Drive onto Flaggy Meadow Road, reaching speeds more than 60 mph.

The complaint states the police chief briefly activated his siren, and Gump then turned onto Round Barn Road, again rapidly accelerating and causing the ATV to fishtail.

“Gump then turned onto Cellular Dr. and rapidly accelerated on the pothole-ridden gravel road causing the ATV to fishtail constantly up the road,” the chief wrote in the complaint. “Upon reaching the crest of the hill, Gump spun the ATV into a 180 degree turn to the left.”

The chief said Gump then looked “right at” him as Gump rapidly accelerated toward the chief.

“I attempted to block his path with my vehicle but stopped when Gump showed no signs of slowing down,” the chief stated in the complaint. “I chose to stop rather than have Gump strike my vehicle possibly causing harm to him.”

The police chief said Gump was not wearing a helmet and didn’t try to conceal his identity.

“He passed within 10 feet of me and I could clearly identify the operator of the vehicle as Austin Gump,” the chief stated in the complaint.

According to the court papers, the police chief turned his vehicle around and began pursuing Gump back down Cellular Road. The chief saw a U.S. Mail carrier’s vehicle on Round Barn Road, partially blocking Cellular Drive, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Gump did not slow down and “came extremely close to striking” the mail vehicle. The police chief said Gump continued down Round Barn Road and then turned left onto Flaggy Meadow Road, rapidly accelerating down Flaggy Meadow Road “at an extremely dangerous speed, not regarding his safety or that of others.”

The chief said that as he turned onto Meadow Avenue, he discontinued the pursuit, for the safety of Gump and others.

The complaint doesn’t state how Gump was eventually apprehended, other than to say that a warrant was issued on Dec. 6 and served Dec. 17.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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