RAVENSWOOD, WV (WOWK) – A man is facing charges after a vehicle pursuit that started in Ravenswood turned into a drug bust.
According to the Ravenswood Police Department, the incident began around 6:36 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2023, on Washington Street in Ravenswood when authorities saw a grey car with no license plate driving south. Officers say they followed the vehicle to U.S. 33 East and then tried to conduct a traffic stop.
Police say instead of stopping, the vehicle sped up quickly beginning the pursuit. According to the RPD, the driver, identified as Raphael Cunningham of Ann Arbor, Michigan, continued east on US. 33, with speeds allegedly exceeding 125 mph. Officers say the vehicle wove in and out of traffic and allegedly passed vehicles on the wrong side of the roadway during the chase.
According to officers, the pursuit ended with the suspect vehicle crashing in the Crow Summit Road area, at which time, the suspect allegedly fled the vehicle and ran into the area of the woods and creek.
Police say because the suspect allegedly refused to comply with their orders and resisted arrest, they used a stun gun to subdue him. He was taken into custody without further incident, police say.
According to the RPD, Cunningham was checked out by EMS after being hit with the stun gun.
The RPD says when officers began investigating to identify Cunningham, at which time they smelled “the odor of marijuana” coming from the vehicle. Police then searched the vehicle and found two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, of suspected cocaine in a brown paper bag in the front passenger’s side floorboard.
“We are grateful that nobody was injured during this incident and are pleased that we removed such a large quantity of cocaine from our streets. We will never know, but we hope lives were saved by the removal these dangerous drugs from society,” said RPD Chief L.B. Morrison. “Police officers put their lives on the line everyday for the protection of the public, and our officers did on this day as well. We are thankful to have such great officers here and in the county.”
Cunningham faces charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and reckless fleeing, police say. He was arrested on a $200,000 bond and taken to the South Central Regional Jail.