MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Police said a man was drunk during a pursuit where he “intentionally” drove into multiple police cruisers, injuring officers in the process.
On Jan. 8, officers with the Granville Police Department were on routine patrol in the area of University Town Center when they observed a dark sedan that was unable to maintain its lane, according to a criminal complaint.
While following the vehicle, officers learned that there was a BOLO out for a possible DUI driver in the vehicle, Tai Howser, 21 of Fairmont, who was “swerving all over the road,” officers said.
When officers attempted to perform a traffic stop, Howser kept driving at speeds of 60 miles per hour in a posted 25-mile-per-hour zone.
Westover Police joined the pursuit after he drove into the Westridge development and then toward FedEx, where Howser hit a dead end. Officers then exited their police cruiser and gave Howser “commands at gunpoint when [they] observed the wheels of the vehicle pointed toward [them],” officers said.
Officers “stepped out of the way as Howser intentionally drove his vehicle into a Westover police car head on,” causing “bodily injury to Westover officers,” according to the complaint.
The pursuit continued with Star City police joining to assist, and Howser fled onto Lawless Road and Martin Hollow Road where Howser “intentionally rammed his vehicle into the back of a different Westover Police car, which caused bodily injury to Westover officers,” officers said.
When Howser fled once again to the FedEx, Howser “sped up” and nearly struck officers who were attempting to block him in, returning to the Westridge development and University Town Center Drive where Howser traveled at speeds of 50 miles per hour in the posted 25 mile-per-hour zone, according to the complaint.
Westover officers were able to successfully conduct a PIT (precision immobilization technique) to cause the vehicle to stop on University Town Center Drive, and Howser was taken into custody, officers said.
Once in custody, officers “could detect a strong odor of alcohol emitting from [his] breath.” The criminal complaint against Howser also said that during the pursuit, he called the 911 communications center and stated, “he was not going in for this and was not stopping.”
Each officer struck during the pursuit was admitted to Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Howser has been charged with destruction of property, fleeing with reckless indifference, fleeing in a vehicle while driving under the influence, four counts of malicious assault on law enforcement and four counts of fleeing in a vehicle causing bodily injury. He is being held in North Central Regional Jail.