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Officer: Strasburg chase speeds reached 60 to 90 mph

Devon R. Gray

By Joe Beck

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Frederick County General District Court gives new details of a March 28 police chase through Strasburg that one pursuing officer said reached speeds as high as 90 mph.

The complaint was filed after an initial court appearance by Devon Renard Gray, 42, of Woodstock, on charges of eluding and disregarding a police officer, driving on a suspended license, and possession of marijuana.

Judge David Whitacre ordered Gray to continue to be held without bond in the Warren County Jail where he has been confined since his arrest Friday afternoon by law enforcement officers from the Warren County Sheriff's Office, Front Royal police and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Gray is also facing car theft and other charges in Shenandoah County, where he is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

Whitacre appointed a public defender to represent Gray after the defendant said he has no income or assets. Gray said he had worked at George's Chicken in Edinburg before losing his job there about three months ago.

Gray also told Whitacre that he has an 8-year-old daughter in Roanoke he is trying to support.

Court papers show that Gray's past charges in Virginia and Florida include drug distribution, a probation violation in 2010, vandalism, an unspecified domestic offense and resisting arrest.

The criminal complaint filed by Middletown police Cpl. Daniel Minili states that he stopped Gray's 2008 Hyundai Elantra in the 8100 block of Valley Pike for defective equipment on the night of March 28.

Minili reported he soon discovered that Gray was driving on a suspended license "and was also found to be in possession of marijuana."

As Minili conducted a further check on Gray's background, the defendant sped away heading south on U.S. 11, according to Minili.

"This unit pursued the vehicle reaching 80 to 100 mph speeds," Minili wrote.

The chase crossed over Interstate 81, where Gray's car hit a guard rail and a tractor-trailer while passing on the right shoulder, according to the complaint.

The chase then reached Strasburg, where Minili and Gray barreled past the downtown construction zone at speeds estimated at 60 to 90 mph, the complaint continues.

Minili said they were heading south past the town limits when Gray "hits his brakes and almost comes to an immediate stop, causing my cruiser to collide with his car . . ."

The complaint states the cruiser veered right, went up an embankment and rolled over on its side before coming to rest in the middle of U.S. 11.

Gray continued heading south for a short distance before abandoning his car and taking off on foot, the complaint continues.

Further details about Gray's alleged flight emerged Tuesday from authorities in Warren and Shenandoah counties.

Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office said Gray's car was stolen from acquaintances in Woodstock between March 20 and March 28. Proctor said the victims contacted the Sheriff's Office the day after the chase.

"That's why we were contacted," Proctor said. "Apparently they did discover the vehicle was involved in the pursuit of March 28."

Gray is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah General District Court on Friday on a charge of car theft and other offenses.

Documents filed in Warren County General District Court also shed light on the details of Gray's arrest Friday. He is charged in Warren County with distribution of heroin and cocaine and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

One of the Warren County criminal complaints states that Gray was arrested on the gun charge after he met a confidential informant and an undercover ATF agent.

The complaint states the informant arranged to meet Gray for the purpose of obtaining a gun. Gray received a 9mm handgun from the undercover ATF agent, according to the complaint.

"After taking possession of the firearm, Gray was immediately arrested," the complaint states.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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