By Ryan Cornell
An 18-year-old Front Royal resident accused of driving with a suspended or revoked license and charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, grand larceny of a vehicle, destruction of property greater than $1,000 and eluding police while endangering persons or a police car, turned himself into the Warren County Jail on Sept. 8.
James Kevin Peacoe Jr., arrested by authorities and released on a $3,000 unsecured bond, could face up to 33 years in prison for the charges.
Peacoe is accused of driving a stolen 1981 Chevrolet pickup truck down Sixth Street in Front Royal at about 1:05 a.m. on June 11 when he ran through a stop sign and nearly hit a police car, according to Deputy Jason Bates of the Warren County Sheriff's Office.
Bates said he was proceeding to charge Peacoe with failure to obey a stop sign and failure to maintain lane when Peacoe and three passengers left the vehicle as it was moving. Bates said the truck was rolling toward him after its passengers fled.
"When I saw everybody jumping out, my first thought was to call for backup and try to go after the driver," he said. "I already had the door open and my leg out, but when I looked up, the truck was heading for my cruiser, so I had to hurry up and put it in reverse."
He said the vehicle continued to roll until it ran off a bridge and fell into a creek on its side.
Bates said he located the three passengers, two of whom were minors, but was unable to find Peacoe. Bates said one of the minors confessed to the identity of the driver.
Bates, a school resource officer at Skyline High School, said Peacoe traveled to North Carolina following the incident and returned to Skyline at the beginning of the school year, where he is currently is attending classes.
Peacoe is charged with three Class 1 misdemeanors, which carry punishments of up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine each; two Class 6 felonies, punishable from one to five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine for each; and an unclassified felony, punishable between one and 20 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.
He is scheduled to appear in the Warren County General District Court on Sept. 24. He is also scheduled to appear in the Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Sept. 26 for the two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The other 18-year-old in the vehicle, Coty James Ferguson, was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He died in a crash off a bridge on Morgan's Ford Road on Aug. 3.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org