FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A Fairmont man has been arrested after leading officers on a high-speed vehicle pursuit in Marion County that ended with him losing control of his vehicle and crashing into a mailbox.

A criminal complaint filed by the Fairmont Police Department stated that on Tuesday, March 2, at approximately 11:57 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on a silver 2009 Toyota Scion on 5th St. near Benoni Ave. in Fairmont, due to the vehicle’s “registration plate being improperly illuminated.” Officers said that as they attempted to exit their cruiser to approach the vehicle, the Scion drove off at a high rate of speed, turning left onto Coleman Ave.

Officers said they pursued the vehicle with their lights and siren activated through the 500 and 600 blocks of Coleman Ave., where they observed the Scion fail to stop at the stop sign located at the intersection of Coleman Ave. and 7th St. Police said the Scion continued to flee at a high rate of speed through the 700 block of Coleman Ave. and failed to stop at another stop sign located at the intersection of 8th St.

The complaint stated that the Scion was traveling fast enough that it “bottomed out after hitting the crest of the road through the intersections where it compressed the suspension system upon impact, throwing sparks due to the undercarriage hitting the asphalt.”

James Burton

Officers said they temporarily lost sight of the vehicle as “it crested the hill in front of 923 Coleman Ave.,” due to them attempting to avoid cross-traffic at the intersections. However, as officers came upon that hill and continued down Coleman Ave., they witnessed the Scion lose control and crash into the mailbox and landscaping stones located at 965 Coleman Ave., where the vehicle then came to a stop.

Officers then observed the vehicle’s driver, James Burton, 35, of Fairmont, look at them and then run towards Woodside Drive. As officers stopped at the Scion to pursue Burton, they heard voices coming from it and identified two passengers in the backseat who were visibly shaken and crying, stating they had been in fear for their lives due to Burton driving recklessly while fleeing from police, according to the complaint.

Burton has been charged with fleeing with reckless indifference, according to court documents. He is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail.