A Parkersburg man was behind bars after allegedly stealing vehicles in multiple counties and leading officers on a dangerous pursuit, said Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger.
Johnny Lee Frame, 34, 1030 George St., Parkersburg, was charged in Jackson County with three counts of grand larceny and two counts of fleeing with reckless indifference. Jackson County Magistrate Jacqueline Casto set bond at $175,000. Frame also is facing charges from Wood County.
On Saturday, Sept. 1, at around 7:44 a.m., a truck driver for Prime MDT called 911 to report his company truck was stolen while it was parked at Sheetz in Ripley. The vehicle was a 2018 Ford F250 with a box cab with Prime MDT emblazoned on the bed.
The vehicle was hauling a trailer with a side-by-side on it. Sgt. Clyde Kenny of the Ripley Police Department got the call and responded to Sheetz along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Julia Bowen.
In addition to the stolen truck, officers discovered a stolen 2010 Honda Civic had been left behind at the gas station. A records check indicated the vehicle was stolen from Parkersburg, and that the license plates were reported stolen from Fayetteville.
Around 8:25 a.m., dispatchers reported a second stolen vehicle from Wilding Trailer Park. The caller, Deanna Rhodes, stated that her daughter’s blue 1999 Dodge Durango had just been just stolen by a white male, approximately 30 years of age, wearing a black shirt and jeans.
As Bowen and Deputy B.L. Varney searched the Ravenswood Pike area, dispatch reported that the vehicle was seen getting onto I-77 southbound.
At approximately 9:04 a.m., West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Officer Clintwood M. Wilson was at the crossover south of Fairplain and saw a vehicle matching the description.
Wilson pulled in behind the vehicle as it was traveling south and described over the radio the sticker on the back glass. He was advised that it was the stolen vehicle.
Wilson gave dispatchers the registration number and attempted to stop the vehicle. The Durango increased speed and a pursuit began.
The vehicle was at the the 125 mile marker and had increased its speed to over 100 miles per hour.
“Wilson pursued the vehicle while advising us of his location and speed,” Bowen said.
Wilson reported the Durango was getting off at the Kenna Exit and turning left toward Kentuck. The Durango then entered the northbound ramp of I-77 and started traveling north toward Fairplain.
At approximately 9:07 a.m., the Durango crossed the median and entered the southbound lane heading north.
“According to Wilson, the Durango was playing chicken with the oncoming traffic and appeared as if he was trying to hit them and then swerving to miss them,” Bowen said.
At this time, Officer Jamie Hart of the Ripley Police Department stopped the southbound traffic at the 130 mile marker and was preparing to lay down spike strips.
At approximately 9:12 a.m., the Durango had reached the 130 mile marker and had entered the construction side of the lane. Hart put out the spike strips and reported to dispatch a positive hit on the Durango.
Wilson reported that the male jumped out of the vehicle and it appeared he was attempting to hijack another vehicle on the highway. As Wilson approached, the male jumped back in the vehicle and pulled out, striking Wilson’s vehicle and the vehicle he was attempting to hijack.
The Durango then headed south in the southbound lane.
At approximately 9:14 a.m., as Wilson and Bowen were in pursuit of the southbound Durango, the vehicle again swerved across the median and started going south in the northbound lane and nearly struck several vehicles, Bowen said.
“I continued south in the southbound lane and continued with him keeping him in sight. As we approached the Kenna Exit, I observed the Durango on the shoulder and appeared that he was getting off the exit as he was in the northbound lane going south,” Bowen said.
“The Durango did exit and I went to the crossover and took the northbound exit. Wilson exited the other ramp and was able to get behind the Durango,” she said.
The vehicle pulled into the Exxon with police in pursuit and struck a truck at the pump. The driver of the stolen vehicle exited the truck and got into the vehicle he just hit, deputies said.
Bowen saw the newly stolen truck, a red Chevrolet, turn onto Stonelick.
“We traveled south out Stonelick and then turned onto DeWees road, then onto Bruce Road,” she said.
The Durango went up the driveway of the last residence, went through the yard then turned around a barn into a field. At the end of the field, the ground was wet, preventing the vehicle from going farther.
“I observed the male in the driver’s seat go out the passenger door and roll under the truck. I was able to secure his hands behind him and Deputy Varney secured him in his vehicle,” Bowen said.
Police identified the suspect as Frame, who was wanted out of Colorado. Police said Frame has a lengthy criminal history that included several charges of vehicle grand larceny and fleeing from police, including similar incident in Kanawha County back in May.
After he was arrested, Frame told Varney he was choking and had ingested bath salts, a synthetic form of methamphetamine. Varney took Frame to Jackson General Hospital for medical clearance.
The owner of the Red Chevrolet truck stolen from the Kenna Exxon arrived to retrieve the vehicle and gave deputies a recorded statement. The victim, Brian Miller, stated that he was at pump No. 2 and went inside the store to get a drink and cigarettes when he heard a crash and was told someone’s truck had been hit. Miller went to the door and in time to see a man driving away in his truck.
Around 9:59, Bowen went to the Exxon and photographed the Durango.
“As I looked inside the vehicle, I could see a black handgun in the passenger seat between the seat and the door. I removed the pistol and observed that it was an airsoft pistol, which looked identical to a bullet-firing pistol. It was determined later that the pistol did not belong to the owner of the vehicle, nor was it in the vehicle before it was stolen,” Bowen said.
Red Barn towed the vehicle from the Exxon.
“I interviewed the assistant manager, Donna Stevens, who stated that she heard a crash and then went to the window. Stevens stated that she saw a male jump out of a blue Durango and into the red truck then take off,” Bowen said.
Stevens showed deputies the footage captured by the store’s security camera.
At approximately 10:24 a.m., Bowen learned the truck stolen from Sheetz was found at 2634 Wilding Lane, in the woods behind the home where the Durango was reported stolen. The truck was located on top of a nearby hill but the side-by-side was not in the trailer. It was found about half a mile away hung up on a log, Bowen said.
At 12:30 p.m., Bowen went to wilding trailer park and talked to Maria Shelby, the owner of the Durango and her mother, Deanna Rhodes, who also was a witness.
Shelby stated that she was unloading furniture from her Durango when a man approached her and asked for a lighter and then asked if she needed help.
Shelby accepted the offer and told the man she would give him some money in exchange for helping. Shelby went inside and took a shower while her mother assisted the man in unloading the vehicle.
Rhodes stated that the male emptied the vehicle and then asked her if he could borrow a clean shirt. When Rhodes went inside, she heard the vehicle start and went outside, where she saw the man drive off.
When interviewed by police Frame said he was in Parkersburg and had fled from police while in a truck. Frame said that after he got away, he stole a Ford Escape from a used car dealership in Parkersburg and traveled to Beckley, where he left the vehicle.
He then allegedly stole a Ford truck from Harbor Freight and drove it to Parkersburg. Frame stated that he left it at the Seventh Street Kroger in Parkersburg.
Frame stated that he stole the car he left at Sheetz from Parkersburg.