Prosecution to appeal bail decision in escape case

By Joe Beck

WOODSTOCK — A man charged with assault on a law enforcement officer won a tentative victory at a bail hearing Tuesday in Shenandoah County General District Court.

Substitute Judge Dev Morrison set bail for Jeremy Levi McWilliams at $15,000 secured bond, a change from the previous order that McWilliams be held without bond. McWilliams was returned to the county jail while the judge gave assistant commonwealth’s attorney Louis Campola 24 hours to file an appeal in circuit court.

Campola said after the hearing he would be filing an appeal.

McWilliams, 29, of Star Tannery, was initially arrested in mid-December as one of seven defendants in a heroin-related drug bust conducted by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force.

While deputies attempted to escort him to the jail, McWilliams escaped briefly, according to a criminal complaint. Campola described how a citizen in a van helped a Woodstock police officer and sheriff’s deputy recapture McWilliams in a downtown alley near a Bank of America parking lot.

“He attempted to stop the defendant from running any further by stopping his van in the alley, and the defendant came into contact with the driver’s side mirror,” Campola said. “The citizen raced around to the side of the vehicle and brought the defendant down and held him until the police caught up.”

Sheriff’s Office officials have said one deputy received a minor injury to his hand during the incident.

McWilliams was also charged with assault on a law enforcement officer after an incident in Strasburg a few months earlier. That charge was recently dropped.

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