SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A Kanawha County man has been charged with falsely reporting an emergency after a traffic stop on Thanksgiving.
According to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy stopped a vehicle on I-64 in South Charleston for speeding. The deputy said he detected the smell of alcoholic beverages inside the vehicle and several of the four occupants “seemed inebriated.” The deputy said before he asked the driver to take field sobriety tests, he went to his cruiser to request backup to watch the other three occupants.
While the deputy was waiting for backup to arrive, a robbery was reported in South Charleston. According to the sheriff’s office, 911 dispatchers said a man had called reporting two black males had robbed a gas station that was off the exit nearest to where the deputy had the vehicle stopped.
The sheriff’s office says the deputy then told dispatchers to discontinue the law enforcement responding for backup so they would be free to assist in the robbery investigation. At that time, dispatchers noticed the call had come from a phone near the traffic stop and not near the gas station that had allegedly been robbed, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to the sheriff’s office, Charleston and South Charleston police officers and Kanawha County deputies arrived at the stop and assisted with detaining the four people in the vehicle. Dispatchers then called the phone that had made the 911 call, and a phone in the back seat began to ring.
Deputies say both people in the back seat denied it was their phone and one pulled their phone out of their pocket as proof. Deputies then had that person call the other person who had been in the back seat and the phone rang again.
The sheriff’s office says Matthew Hammack, 27, of Charleston, was arrested and charged with falsely reporting an emergency. Authorities say the driver of the vehicle did pass the field sobriety tests, was cited for speeding and was allowed to continue his drive.