By Erin Beck
West Virginia State Police are investigating a crash involving a Shinnston police officer and another person.
Multiple media outlets reported that two vehicles were involved in the crash, which resulted in a downed power line, near the intersection of Rt. 19 and Meadowbrook Road in Harrison County on Dec. 1.
In a later interview, Shinnston Police Chief Jon Harbert released more information about the crash, including the name of the officer involved: J. Hetherington.
Harbert said Hetherington attempted to stop Justin Dwayne Kuhens for a “standard traffic violation.” Kuhens fled and Hetherington pursued, Harbert said.
“The plus to it all was nobody was seriously injured,” Harbert said. “Vehicles can be replaced.”
Harbert said Kuhens took off with “reckless indifference” and will be charged with felony fleeing.
“That’s why he ended up getting pursued,” Harbert said. “We don’t just chase you for a basic traffic violation.”
Harbert said Kuhens has a history of fleeing and multiple outstanding warrants in Harrison and Marion counties.
“Eventually everybody gets caught,” he said. “We’re not going to set every day looking for him.”
Courthouse employees in both courthouses declined to give information about any outstanding warrants by phone.
A State Police spokesman did not respond to emailed questions about the crash investigation as of deadline, which was several days after questions were sent.
“From what we’re being told, possibly family or friends are hiding him,” Harbert said. He said Kuhens has family in the Flaggy Meadow area.
No arrest had been made as of late last week, when Harbert was contacted for an update on the case. Asked whether he was aware if Kuhens is represented by a lawyer, Harbert said it would be unlikely.
However, if Kuhens or an attorney representing him wishes to respond to police’s version of events or make a statement, they may contact newsandjournal at yahoo.com.