CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A Clarksburg man is in custody after attempting to flee from custody in a police cruiser, troopers said.
On Nov. 4, troopers with the Harrison County detachment of the West Virginia State Police arrived at the Walmart on Emily Drive in Clarksburg in reference to a shoplifting complaint.
While en route, troopers were informed that the shoplifter, Austin Lodge, 28, of Clarksburg, had an active warrant for his arrest, and when troopers made contact with Lodge, they informed him that he was under arrest, troopers said.
When ordered to place his hands behind his back, Lodge refused, and troopers had to “place his hands behind his back” while he actively resisted troopers’ orders and attempted to reach into his pockets, according to the complaint.
Troopers were able to place Lodge “onto the ground and were eventually able to secure him in handcuffs behind his back,” troopers said.
Upon a search of Lodge’s person, troopers found a cigarette pack in his pocket which contained “numerous, individually packages[sic] of a dark, sand-like powder” suspected to be heroin due to Lodge being “a habitual user and seller of heroin,” according to the complaint.
Upon walking Lodge to their cruiser, troopers “observed Lodge’s pupils to be pinpoint, and not reacting to light,” as well as “dry mouth and face tremors” which led troopers to believe that Lodge was “under the influence of an opiate,” troopers said.
Once he was placed into the cruiser, Lodge “continued to be belligerent” and “was repeatedly taking his seatbelt off” while in the back seat of the cruiser, and while travelling westbound on W.Va. Rt. 50, Lodge “removed his seatbelt again and began to move around the backseat of [the] patrol vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Troopers then took the exit ramp onto West Virginia Avenue and stopped the cruiser, at which point troopers attempted to remove Lodge from the vehicle in an attempt to restrain him, “but he was actively resisting” and kicking troopers, troopers said.
While Lodge kicked at them, troopers were “able to grasp Lodge’s ankle and remove him from the backseat of the vehicle,” and while outside the vehicle, Lodge calmed down and was placed back into the vehicle with his hands “restrained by handcuffs behind his back,” according to the complaint.
Once he was back in the vehicle, Lodge claimed “he had spat out his false teeth while outside of the vehicle,” and troopers began looking for them; during that time, Lodge “unbuckled his seatbelt, positioned his hands into the front of his body, and jumped into the driver seat of [the] patrol vehicle and began to attempt an escape,” troopers said.
Troopers gave Lodge orders to “stop attempting to put the vehicle into gear,” but Lodge “was frantically disobeying” troopers’ commands while troopers attempted to restrain him; however, Lodge “was successful in his attempt to place the vehicle into gear and pressed the accelerator,” according to the complaint.
In order “[t]o avoid collision with any other vehicles, [troopers] pulled the steering wheel to the right to keep the patrol vehicle off the roadway,” which caused the vehicle to go into the woods while “Lodge continued to disobey [troopers]’ commands to stop,” as he pressed down on the gas pedal and made the vehicle gain “speed at a rapid rate,” troopers said.
The vehicle then hit a “Comcast fiberoptic box” and destroyed it, then struck a “cedar pole head on,” which caused the cruiser to stop; The collision caused one trooper “to strike the front windshield, destroying it,” according to the complaint.
Troopers were then able to remove Lodge “from the driver compartment of the vehicle and re-secured his hands” with the assistance of the Clarksburg Police Department, troopers said.
The damage to the vehicle amounted to $3,000, and Lodge and the trooper who collided with the windshield were transported to United Hospital Center for injuries, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 10, troopers were conducing a road patrol of the area near Philippi Pike when they observed a red Ford Escape being driven by a woman wanted on felony capias, according to a criminal complaint.
When troopers neared the vehicle, they saw Lodge “leaning forward between the front two seats from the rear seat,” at which point troopers activated their cruiser’s emergency lights and siren, troopers said.
At that point, Lodge “drop[ped] from view and began frantically moving around the floorboard,” in an attempt “to conceal himself,” then he moved “to the driver side floorboard, reach up, open the rear driver side door, and exit the vehicle,” according to the complaint.
Troopers then pursued Lodge on foot and deployed their Taser, and while Lodge was on the ground, he “dropped two plastic bags of a grey[sic], powder-like substance” suspected to be fentayl, troopers said.
Lodge has been charged with possession with intent to deliver fentanyl, unlawful possession of fentanyl, attempted escape from custody, fleeing with DUI, felony destruction of property and possession with intent to deliver heroin. He is being held in North Central Regional Jail on $50,000 bond.