A Marion County man was arrested on drug charges and a warrant for animal cruelty following a police pursuit in Preston County.
On Thursday, February 7, deputies with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department were monitoring traffic on I-68 when they witnessed a green Subaru traveling westbound with no inspection sticker.
The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Blake Conrad, 28, of Fairmont.
Deputies said they began following Conrad, initiated their emergency lights and sirens and witnessed his vehicle swerving back and forth rapidly, as if the steering was malfunctioning, as it passed a semi-truck. According to deputies, after passing the truck, Conrad continued traveling in the slow lane until he approached a vehicle near the Bruceton exit. Deputies said Conrad rapidly went around this vehicle and cut it off abruptly to get off at the exit.
Conrad then ran a stop sign at the Route 26 intersection and continued southbound, according to deputies. Deputies said that Conrad traveled towards Hudson Road and passed five cars at various locations in no-passing zones. Conrad made a hard right turn onto Hudson Road, running into the parking lot of a Quick Stop as it completed the turn, and continued traveling down the road. While on Hudson Road, deputies said Conrad traveled at speeds up to 55 mph and passed two vehicles that were traveling in the opposite direction.
According to deputies, at the intersection of Bull Run Road a driver witnessed Conrad’s vehicle rapidly coming towards their vehicle. Deputies said the driver stopped in the road, exited their vehicle and ran up a bank for safety.
Deputies said Conrad’s vehicle nearly went into a creek as it squeezed by the abandoned vehicle, before going down Bull Run Road at speeds of up to 50 mph, all while sliding in the mud around turns. According to deputies, once Conrad crossed a bridge, he began driving up a hill when the driver’s side axel broke, forcing the vehicle into a tree.
Deputies said Conrad jumped out of his vehicle and was followed by a deputy and a K9. According to deputies, Conrad slid 100 feet down a bank and deputies stopped to secure the passenger in the vehicle who was still pinned inside.
After being detained by law enforcement, Conrad told deputies that he made it to a river and began throwing marijuana from his backpack into the river until the K9 came up and apprehended him. According to a criminal complaint, Conrad and the dog fell into the river, and Conrad got out with the dog still on his leg. Deputies said Conrad climbed a bank, causing the dog to fall off his leg, and then climbed a tree. Deputies said they found Conrad in the tree with the K9 at the bottom barking at him.
Deputies said that Conrad stated he sold marijuana and ran from law enforcement because he would rather face a fleeing charge than a dealing charge. Deputies located approximately a pound of marijuana inside of Conrad’s vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
Upon apprehending Conrad, deputies realized he was currently wanted on a warrant for animal cruelty in Marion County for a September 2018 incident. According to officers with the Rivesville Police Department, on September 21, 2018 neighbors contacted police about a dog that belonged to Conrad that was left on the front porch without food or water.
Officers said a neighbor signed a statement saying that they had fed Conrad’s dog and had only seen him at the residence two times in the three months they had lived there. The neighbor told police that the dog was starving, and ate the food they provided in a hurry.
Officers said they observed the dog on the front porch without any food or water left for it. Officers also observed a large white bucket containing algae and dirt that was not fit for animals to drink. Police contacted animal control to take custody of the dog, who was taken to the Marion County Animal Shelter.
According to a criminal complaint, Conrad has been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, fleeing with reckless indifference and cruelty to animals. He is currently being held at Tygart Valley Regional Jail.