Wild chase ends in Toms Brook man’s arrest
WOODSTOCK – Law enforcement officials from Shenandoah County, New Market and several other jurisdictions chased a Toms Brook man south through a curtain of rain on Interstate 81 on Wednesday night before he was arrested in Augusta County on charges that included at least four counts of assault and battery on law enforcement and reckless driving.
Authorities described a stop-and-go chase at speeds up to 80 mph during which deputies fired their guns in an effort to disable a gray Dodge Avenger driven by the defendant, William Walter Grim Jr., 60. Grim and one member of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office were hospitalized with minor injuries, treated and released.
Grim was being held without bail in the Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton as of Wednesday afternoon.
The following account is taken from written statements by law enforcement officials and court documents.
The chase began at about 6:50 p.m. after two investigators with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office spotted Grim’s vehicle on I-81. The car traveled down the New Market exit and headed west onto Old Cross Road before pulling into Bo’s Express convenience store. The two members of the Sheriff’s Office were joined at the store by a deputy and a New Market officer, all with lights and emergency equipment activated.
The law enforcement officials were trying to serve a court document authorizing Grim’s arrest for a felony. Grim, when approached by one the law enforcement officials, started to roll up one of the windows on the Avenger and said, “I went to jail last night. I’m not going tonight.”
Grim put his vehicle in gear and began moving through the parking lot. As the four law enforcement officials ordered him to stop, Grim hit an investigator from the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office in the lower left leg.
Grim took off onto Cadet Road, entered eastbound Old Cross Road and then headed south on I-81 until reaching mile marker 225. At that point, he stopped, then tried to run over an Augusta County deputy and sped off again.
Deputies stopped Grim again at mile marker 224.5 but Grim then rammed one occupied police cruiser, put his car into reverse and rammed another one. Grim, moving back and forth, rammed both cruisers one more time. At that point, deputies used a rifle and unspecified impact weapons to knock out the windows of the Dodge.
The law enforcement officials managed to subdue Grim and take him into custody after a New Market officer fired his Taser and dropped the defendant to the ground.
The charges against Grim include at least two counts of felony eluding of law enforcement, more than four counts of assault and battery on law enforcement and reckless driving and obstruction of justice.
He is also facing two other charges stemming from incidents before the chase.
Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said the heavy rain led a deputy with his agency to break off the chase after only a few miles on I-81.
“It sure did,” Proctor said of the rain’s role in discouraging further pursuit by the deputy.
A criminal complaint filed by deputy Michael Bryant described weather conditions as “extremely heavy rain with thunder and lightning” as he pursued Grim south on I-81.
“Several motorists were either pulled off onto the shoulder with their hazard lights on or traveling at speeds of 40 mph or less due to excess amounts of water on the roadway,” Bryant added.
Proctor said the Sheriff’s Office has “a really restrictive policy” on chases that allows deputies and their supervisors to consider heavy traffic, weather and other factors in deciding whether to let a suspect flee or continue the pursuit.
“We want them to make those good decisions,” Proctor said. “In this case, the supervisor was monitoring the incident, and the pursuit was terminated. Obviously it was raining heavily in the New Market area, and it did have an effect on the decision.”
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