Cumberland Times-News

March 5, 2013

Virginia man allegedly leads sheriff’s deputy on high-speed, 30-mile chase

Driving under influence among charges he’ll face in Allegany County

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Deputy Kraig Simpson had just activated his speed radar system in his Dodge Charger patrol car on state Route 51 near Moores Hollow Road when a car passed by him traveling in the opposite direction at an extremely high rate of speed, according to the officer.

 Simpson’s radar logged the speed of the 1994 Oldsmobile at 98 mph just before 3 p.m. Monday. The posted speed limit there is 50.

Quickly turning around, Simpson activated emergency siren and lights and closed in on the suspect vehicle.

The pursuit extended 30 miles and reportedly reached speeds of 125 mph before 62-year-old William Ray Ritchie slowed his vehicle upon entering the town of Paw Paw, W.Va., where a town police officer awaited him. Ritchie drove a half-mile before he stopped his vehicle and was taken into custody without incident.

The Gore, Va., resident was charged with numerous offenses in Morgan County, including fleeing and eluding police while driving under the influence and other charges.

After arrest processing by Paw Paw Police, Ritchie was placed in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in Augusta where he remained Tuesday on $10,000 bond and awaited extradition proceedings that will bring him back to Allegany County to face numerous charges.

Simpson said driving under the influence is among various charges Ritchie will face in Allegany County.

Simpson said Ritchie passed several vehicles during the pursuit and in the process nearly struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. Some vehicles that were in front of Ritchie pulled onto the shoulder to allow him to pass.

The sheriff’s office was assisted in the pursuit by Maryland State Police.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com.