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Locals react to string of events

By Staff | Dec 31, 2010

Monday a high-speed chase involving the suspect and numerous police vehicles raced through Shepherdstown at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

“This was a very dangerous chase. We are all lucky that there were no personal injuries or property damage,” said Mayor Jim Auxer.

Karen Buss, an employee of the Ellsworth Music, had a front row seat as the cars sped by Duke Street.

“It was very exciting. They were going really fast. It was so dangerous considering how busy that intersection is most afternoons,” Buss said.

Officer James Cummings of the Shepherdstown Police said, “It was very reckless driving at high speeds.”

According to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ronald Fletcher, mid-afternoon Monday, a man, later identified as Mark Daniel Haines, attempted a bank robbery at City National Bank in Ranson.

He drove up to the teller and demanded money. No money was given, and no weapon was brandished, Fletcher said.

He then left the bank and headed up old Route 9 towards the VA hospital.

911 dispatcher sent out an all point call describing the vehicle. Jefferson County Sheriff Robert Shirley saw the vehicle go by, according to Fletcher. He attempted a traffic stop, but the suspect refused to stop.

He turned around at the VA hospital and headed back down Route 9, turned left onto Route 480 towards Shepherdstown, left again at the four-way stop and headed north on Route 45 towards Berkeley County, Fletcher said.

Shepherdstown police officers laid out a spike strip, flattening the suspect’s tires. The chase quickly came to an end off Route 45 in a field down a side road in Berkeley County, Fletcher said.

Fletcher said Haines weaved between vehicles and slammed on his brakes, trying to cause an accident. No officers were hurt or vehicles were damaged. The suspect was not under the influence, Fletcher said. He is now in custody in the Eastern Regional Jail.

“Sheriff Shirley reacted quickly on hearing the 911 call and because of his actions this suspect was apprehended,” said Fletcher.

City National Bank security officer Mary Charles, reports that the teller involved is fine.

“These are desperate times and people are doing desperate things,” Fletcher said.