GILBERT – A Florida man faces misdemeanor charges after allegedly striking a police cruiser and leaving the scene of the accident in the Gilbert area of Mingo County.
Jeffrey Neil Earnest, 59 from Pompano Beach Fl., was arrested on Tuesday, August 16. According to a criminal complaint, Earnest pulled into the Gilbert City Hall parking lot in his Ford F150 in a reckless manner and struck the cruiser of Cpl. Thomas.
The complaint states that Thomas was not in his cruiser at the time of the crash and did not make contact with the officer or report the accident to 911 following the collision.
Earnest allegedly drove away from the scene at a high rate of speed. According to the complaint, the officer witnessed Earnest driving the vehicle during the incident.
The officer stopped Earnest some time later. At that time, Earnest allegedly refused to obey officer commands to exit the vehicle.
Earnest faces charges related to reckless driving, duty upon striking an unattended vehicle, obstructing an officer and destruction of property.
According to the W.Va. state code, “The driver of any vehicle which collides with any vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle that stuck the unattended vehicle shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances.”
Earnest was transported to the Southwestern Regional Jail located in Holden, W.Va and was arraigned before Magistrate Jim Harvey.
Information in this article was obtained by use of a criminal complaint which is public record. A criminal complaint is merely an accusation and those named should be considered innocent until and if proven guilty.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)