High-speed chase ends with arrest

PARKERSBURG – The high-speed pursuit that passed through a school zone and left one sheriff’s vehicle disabled Thursday afternoon began when the Parkersburg Police attempted to serve a warrant for theft, officials said.

Mary Margaret Green, 63, of 1914 Neal St., Parkersburg, was arrested on Thursday on a felony charge of fleeing from officers with reckless indifference, along with the misdemeanor charge of petit larceny she was facing before the pursuit, said Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

Green will face additional charges of parole violations and possibly other charges in the future, Martin said.

The chase began near the intersection of 19th Avenue and Division Street at 2:35 p.m. when Green refused to pull over after officers identified her while she was driving, Martin said.

The chase lasted for approximately 17 minutes and covered 16 miles, Martin said. Speeds topped 100 mph in places along Interstate 77, Martin said.

Green was arraigned on video from the North Central Regional Jail by Wood County Magistrate Robin Waters on Thursday evening and failed to make $75,000 cash-only bond for her felony charge and failed to make $1,000 bond for her misdemeanor charge.

The Parkersburg Police Department and the Wood County Sheriff’s Office are familiar with Green from past incidents, officials said.

Parkersburg Police Detective J.R. Snyder had been investigating a theft complaint against Green from Wal-Mart since May 6, Martin said.

On Thursday afternoon, Snyder received a tip that Green had allegedly learned a warrant was going to be served against her, Martin said. Green was on parole at the time of the incident, Martin said.

According to the tip, Green allegedly informed her brother that she refused to return to jail and claimed she would flee the area and establish a new identity, Martin said.

Snyder was on the way to serve the warrant on Green when he identified her driving in south Parkersburg, Martin said.

Green fled instead of pulling over when Snyder attempted to stop her, Martin said.

According to reports from the 911 Center and the Parkersburg Police Department, Green allegedly fled along Camden Avenue, passing through the Fairplains Elementary School zone at a high rate of speed.

The school zone was marked as 40 mph, Martin said. School had not yet dismissed for the day, he said.

“Luckily the kids weren’t there at the time,” Martin said. “We always take precautions when it comes to traffic and pedestrians during pursuits,” he said.

Green then allegedly entered Interstate 77 northbound, and proceeded north at a high rate of speed until she exited at U.S. 50, Martin said.

Deputies from the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and troopers with the Wood County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police joined the pursuit. Units attempted to get ahead of Green multiple times in order to lay down spike strips, but were unable to get in front of her, Martin said.

Green turned eastbound on U.S. 50, then performed a U-turn and proceeded westbound on U.S. 50, Martin said. She then entered I-77 again, drove for approximately half a mile north, before cutting through the median to turn southbound, Martin said.

Green then allegedly drove south to the Mineral Wells exit, Martin said. The chase ended when Green crashed into a Wood County sheriff deputy’s cruiser on W.Va. 14 in Mineral Wells, Martin said.

Deputy M. Deem and K-9 officer Benji were in the SUV cruiser at the time of the wreck, said Wood County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Shawn Graham. Both were uninjured and permitted to refuse treatment, Graham said.

“It was our newest car,” Graham said. “We just got it fully outfitted with all of the equipment and K-9 safety gear this month.”

The cruiser sustained substantial damage and had to be towed from the scene, Graham said.

Green was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center and cleared for incarceration, Martin said.

Green allegedly displayed several acts of reckless indifference to others during the pursuit, Martin said. Her high rates of speed caused her to nearly hit several vehicles along the interstate as she passed them, he said.

Martin anticipates that the Department of Corrections will place a hold on Green to prevent her from posting bail because of the circumstances, he said.