WILLIAMSON - A man was arrested Thursday night after allegedly driving drunk and striking a Williamson Police Department cruiser while near the scene of a fire.
Jonathan Clyde Christian, 23, of Gilbert, was driving eastbound near the hairpin curve in Williamson, when he came across WPD Patrolman J.E. Spence directing and diverting traffic from East End, WPD Chief of Police C.D. Rockel told the Daily News.
Both lanes of traffic were blocked that night because of a fire that the Williamson Fire Department was responding to.
Christian was speeding toward the emergency scene, Rockel said, but Spence managed to flag him down.
Rockel said that, according to Spence, Christian had glassy eyes and was quoted as saying that he was on his way to the hospital. The chief pointed out that Christian was going the wrong way to reach his supposed destination.
Spence told Christian to stay where he was in his vehicle while he dealt with other motorists coming up the Vinson Street hill, Rockel said.
“He took off like a bullet eastbound,” Rockel said, “and nearly hit two or three people.”
Williamson Fire Chief Jerry Mounts told the Daily News on Thursday night that the WFD “had a terrible time with motorists still wanting to drive through the emergency scene” and that he was nearly struck by a car himself.
Rockel said that as Christian drove through East End, he came across the blocked lanes of traffic from the WFD responding to the fire. He apparently turned around and then proceeded west toward U.S. 119.
He said that Christian was driving at a high rate of speed and struck the front of Spence’s cruiser on the driver’s side. After that, Spence began pursuit.
“It’s not like he couldn’t see (the cruiser),” Rockel said. “Spence had his lights flashing.”
However, Rockel said that the damage sustained to the cruiser was not extensive.
With the help of the West Virginia State Police and Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, Rockel said, Spence was able to stop Christian on U.S. 119, near Victory Lane. He was traveling northbound toward Logan.
Rockel said that a half-empty liquor bottle and a number of empty beer cans were discovered in the 2009 Ford Escape that Christian was operating.
Christian is being charged with DUI, fleeing DUI, and destruction of property.
He is currently lodged at the Southwestern Regional Jail, in Holden, with a bond of $11,100.
The case is still under investigation.