Beckley Police Department Investigates Crash Involving Governor Justice

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – On May 26, 2018 at approximately 1pm Patrolman Logan Christian responded to a traffic crash on Harper Road at the intersection of Hylton Lane. West Virginia State Troopers with the Governor’s security detail were on scene and able to secure the intersection until the arrival of Beckley Police Department officers.

Upon arrival, responding Patrolman Christian conducted initial observations and determined that the driver of the second vehicle had failed to maintain control of his vehicle and had rear ended a vehicle being operated by Governor Jim Justice, while the Governor was sitting at a red light. It was further determined that the operator of the second vehicle which rear ended the Governor’s vehicle, appeared to be under the influence of a drug.

Patrolman Christian requested Beckley Police Department Corporal Timothy Hughes to respond to the scene of the crash to perform advanced roadside evaluations to detect the presence of drugs. Corporal Hughes is a state certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) who uses advanced techniques to evaluate drug impaired drivers.

Following the evaluation, the driver of the second vehicle, 20 year old Joshua Lucas was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Failure to Maintain Control of the vehicle by Patrolman Christian.

It is suspected that Mr. Lucas was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.

No one was transported to the hospital immediately following the crash.

The Drug Evaluation Classification (DEC) Program for the State of West Virginia has grown exponentially due to the increasing number of drug impaired drivers observed on our roadways.

The goal of the program is to equip Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officers with the knowledge and tools to keep these rapidly growing number of drug impaired drivers off of our roadways, thereby reducing the crash related fatality rates in West Virginia. The DRE Certification Program is very demanding and involves officers learning to conduct medical evaluations in order to determine drug types influencing the driver and the level of driver impairment.

The West Virginia State DEC Coordinator is Huntington police officer Joey Koher.

Officers from municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies from all over West Virginia participate in the program.

The Beckley Police Department currently has three DRE’s.

Justice released a statement saying, “I hate like crazy that this happened but in some ways I’m glad he hit me because if the driver had not hit our Suburban, at the rate of speed he was going on the wet, slick roads, he probably would have traveled through the intersection and broadsided another vehicle. Fortunately for all this could have been a tragedy, but this is a far better outcome.”

“Cathy and I are thankful for the quick reaction of the State Police security and the Beckley City Police.”

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