ELKINS, W.Va. – An Elkins man is in custody after sending police on a chase through Randolph County, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Randolph County detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
On July 3, state police troopers stopped a GMC Sonoma pick-up truck at the Valley Village Apartments on Ward Road near U.S. Route 119 which had a registration that had expired on September 1, 2018. Troopers made contact with the driver, and he identified himself as Nathan Channell, which troopers later determined was a false name, according to the complaint. The driver was later identified as Matthew Channell, 31, of Elkins, according to court documents.
When asked for his identification and proof of registration, Channell was unable to provide any of those documents and troopers asked for his consent to search the truck, according to the complaint. Troopers said Channell agreed to the search, but when he was asked to exit the vehicle and a trooper tried to assist his exit, Channell placed the truck into drive.
The trooper ordered Channell to stop the truck, but he failed to comply, almost hitting the trooper as he fled onto Ward Road, troopers said. The trooper then returned to his cruiser and initiated a pursuit of Channell’s vehicle by turning on lights and sirens on the cruiser, according to the complaint.
During the pursuit, Channell sped through a stop light at the intersection of Ward Road and U.S Route 219, then failed to yield the right of way to multiple vehicles in both north- and southbound lanes, almost causing accidents with multiple vehicles travelling on Route 219, troopers said.
Channell continued to flee from the troopers and reached speeds of 60 mph in a 45 mph speed zone before turning on Plantation Drive to attempt to evade the pursuing troopers, troopers said. Channell continued down Plantation Drive for about a half mile before crossing left-of-center and exiting the roadway down a hillside, according to the complaint.
At the bottom of the hill, Channell exited his truck and fled into a wooded area on foot, and troopers shouted for him to stop, troopers said. Channell failed to comply with the troopers’ request, and troopers were unable to locate Channell in the wooded area, troopers said.
When troopers returned to Channell’s truck, they found a Walther PPK/S .380 caliber pistol in plain view on the driver’s side floorboard; when a check was done on the firearm, it was returned as stolen in 2015, and troopers seized it as a result, according to the complaint.
Troopers later learned Channell’s identity from a photograph and made contact with his father, Nathan Channell, whom Matthew Channell has used as his false identity during the original stop, according to the complaint. The Elkins Communications department of the state police advised that Matthew Channell’s driver’s license had been revoked for an active DUI revocation in 2012 and three unpaid citation suspensions from 2013, troopers said.
Channell was eventually arrested and charged with fleeing with reckless indifference and attempt to commit unlawful assault on a police officer. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.