Backhoe Leads Law Enforcement On A Chase

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback


It's not an unusual thing for a vehicle to be stolen and taken for a joyride.

But on Tuesday night it wasn't a stolen sports car cruising the streets and back roads of Pocahontas and Randolph county-- but a backhoe!

There was a stolen vehicle, there was some damage along the roadsides and there was a pursuit, granted not a high speed chase but according to Betty Allison, it made for interesting listening on the scanner.

"Around ten thirty or so I heard where they was a backhoe coming down Hospital hill and it was believed to be a drunk a driving."

Betty Allison and her son- in- law Bill Dorman were heading out to look at the damage where the backhoe wound up after a chase by police.

The backhoe owned by Meadows Construction was being used on a highway widening project in Pocahontas.

Police say the backhoe was taken by 23-year-old Eric Martin who first headed up Bowers street dragging the bucket and bending signs. As police were responding, another call came in.

Detective Sgt. Jesse Luffman from the Pocahontas Police Department described what happened.

"We had another phone call saying reporting we had a backhoe hitting signs going up 115 going out of town."

Allison, "It said it was coming out 115, it passed Mansico bridge and it was taking out some mail boxes and some signs as it come along."

Up the hill from the bridge, Martin(backhoe driver)  had 3 roads to chose from.

Allison listened on her police scanner, "It's either going down 251 or the or down the Bellvue road. And then whoever it was said, oh it's going down the Bellvue road."

Luffman, "Officer Jodi Grooms located the backhoe on Bellvue which is off highway 115 up there. He followed it a short distance before the operator of the backhoe got stuck in a ditch. "

The driver was taken into custody. Then Mrs. Allison heard her name mentioned on the scanner as the property owner where the backhoe wound up.

"Oh it wasn't but a few seconds until my telephone ring and it was the dispatcher and she said what had happened and it had turned over in my field."

According to Meadows officials there was no damage to the back hoe and it was back at work on Wednesday.

And how was it so easy for the crook to take this thing for a ride. Turns out that pretty much one Caterpillar key fits everything.

Mrs. Allison and her son- in- law Bill Dorman were going to take a look at the field.

"Me and my son in law are going to find out, and see how much damage was done."

Lucky for Betty Allison-- there was very little damage done to her fence line.

Dorman says he's no hurry to get it fixed!

As for the suspected joyrider, Eric Martin was arraigned Wednesday on a 25-thousand dollar bond.  Charged with numerous charges.

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