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Hoyle sentencing underscores gap between legal and psychological ‘sanity’



Following a four-hour pre-sentencing hearing Friday, May 10, Warren County Circuit Court Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. sentenced 34-year-old David Glynn Hoyle Jr. to 13 years of active incarceration for Second Degree Murder in the March 27, 2017 shooting death of 58-year-old Warren Ramsey. Hoyle was living with his mother, Wanda Horton, and Ramsey, her live-in boyfriend of eight years at the time of the shooting on Grand Avenue in Front Royal.

Initially charged with First Degree Murder, Hoyle faced 20 years to life in prison. However as part of a plea agreement with the commonwealth, Hoyle entered a guilty plea to Second Degree Murder. Second Degree Murder carries a sentencing range of five to 40 years. Suggested guidelines from the plea agreement carried an active incarceration range cap of 17 years on the high end to five years on the low. A second charge of use of a firearm in commission of a felony carrying a mandatory-minimum three year sentence was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Athey prefaced his decision to sentence Hoyle to 30 years with 17 years suspended, followed by 10 years of supervised probation by citing mitigating circumstances presented by the defense team of Timothy Coyne and Ryan Nuzzo, particularly testimony from expert psychological witness Dr. William Stejskal, a clinical psychologist and forensic psychologist at the University of Virginia, School of Law; as well as earlier corroborating expert testimony from a Dr. Rawls.

That mitigating circumstance was a paranoid delusional state mimicking schizophrenia or bipolar disorder brought on by a misdiagnosis of Hoyle as bipolar from a psychiatrist whom testimony indicated has since lost her license to practice. That psychiatrist identified as Dr. Kumarappan of Falls Church at the time, prescribed extremely high doses of the drug Xanax to treat Hoyle as bipolar. More normal, lower doses of the drug are much less likely to cause the type of severe impacts Hoyle experienced, Stejskal testified. Of those severe impacts, Stejskal elaborated that they “duplicate psychotic symptoms”.

David Glynn Hoyle Jr. at the time of his March 27, 2016 arrest for Warren Ramsey’s murder; Hoyle was sporting the type of strap-on protective vest indicative of inmates believed to be a potential threat to themselves. Photos Courtesy of RSW Jail

Dr. Stejskal described the psychological problems David Hoyle has battled since childhood as a borderline personality disorder characterized by panic attacks, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. However, they are problems far short of the delusional characteristics of bipolar disorder, Stejskal testified.

On the stand Hoyle told the court he had dropped out of school in the ninth grade because he found high school “too overwhelming”. There were indications he had been bullied at earlier school levels. Other testimony indicated he had become addicted to opioids after having them prescribed following a car accident that resulted in a back injury. Hoyle also described an incident in which he was jumped and hit in the face resulting in the fracture of 97% of the orbital bone around one eye.

Hoyle expressed profound sorrow for Ramsey’s death both during his testimony and in a prepared statement to the court before sentencing. During direct examination Tim Coyne asked his client how he felt about what he had done – “I hate myself for what happened; I feel terrible. I just want to say to Warren’s family, I’m sorry, God I’m so sorry.”

In his prepared statement he told the court, “I am so sorry for the heartache and pain I have caused to my mother and Warren’s family … I am not that type of person, I still have terrible nightmares … I understand I cannot go unpunished. But I hope I can use the rest of my life to help people dealing with mental illness – I know some of these are high hopes but I will not give up on them.

“Please forgive me … Warren was a good man. He helped me at the worst time of my life. He never gave up on me … Give me more time to try to correct the wrongs I did – I can never make up for what I did. I just ask you to give me the opportunity to try …”

Defense counsel asked the court for the minimum five years of actual time served. It appears that Hoyle could be credited for the two years of time served though that was not directly addressed during sentencing. When Athey rendered his 13-years of active incarceration in prison decision, Hoyle’s mother who had quietly sobbed through much of the hearing bolted from the courtroom and surrounding family members in tears.

Earlier Hoyle’s mother Wanda, Hoyle’s older sister Candace Ramirez, younger sister Faith Horton, older brother Jason Hoyle and longtime friend Quentin Cancey all described David as a caring, respectful, helpful person who was not by nature violent at all.

However, those same family members and friend all testified to a profoundly negative change in Hoyle’s psychological state from late 2015 when he began see Dr. Kumarappan to the time of Ramsey’s death on March 27, 2017. That state was an increasingly profound paranoia that those around him, particularly Ramsey, were plotting against him; torturing him and perhaps planning to kill him.

Hoyle’s older brother Jason, who lives in New Jersey, gave 43 recorded phone messages to the defense submitted as evidence in the hearing from his brother describing in detail his delusion of being plotted against by family members in the household.

Hoyle’s older sister by two years, Ramirez, said by late 2016 she could no longer let her brother David around her children – “I didn’t recognize my brother” she testified of behavior that included banging a sledgehammer and scratching his face until it bled while looking for his prescription medication from the psychiatrist. She said she told her brother Jason she believed it was time to commit their younger brother.

Hoyle grapples with his situation and what he has done while still under influence of high doses of miss-prescribed medication that produced symptoms of psychosis, including paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.

Dr. Stejskal described Hoyle’s condition resulting from the overmedication with Xanax for a condition he did not have, including at the time he shot Ramsey, as a “medication-induced delirium” which he further defined as “an altered state of consciousness that impaired thinking, perceptions and induced hallucinations and paranoia.”

Coyne asked his client if he remembered shooting Warren Ramsey. Hoyle replied “flashes of it” including hearing his mother screaming and getting in a police car.

However, in arguing for the maximum 17 years of incarceration Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond pointed out that Hoyle did not meet the legal standard of insanity – “He knows what he did was wrong … He immediately knew what he did; he said he was sorry,” Hammond pointed out of Hoyle’s statements to police who responded to the scene and in an interview with Detective Landin Waller a short time after his arrest.

Asked by Waller what caused him to shoot Ramsey, Hoyle replied, “I was scared.”

“Why did you do it?” Waller pressed.

“He tortures me,” Hoyle said, adding that Ramsey abused him and his dog – “He’s only eight pounds,” Hoyle said of the dog. During her testimony, Hoyle’s mother said every time her son heard
the dog bark in another part of the house or yard he thought he was being tortured.

“Did he say something to you tonight or make you scared so you did this? What was the tipping point,” Waller asked of the shooting.

“I don’t know,” Hoyle whimpered in reply, adding, “He didn’t deserve to be shot. I didn’t want to shoot him.”

“He shot Mr. Ramsey a minimum of 10 times,” Hammond noted of Hoyle’s emptying the 9-mm semi-automatic pistol clip at Ramsey as he sat on a couch in a family room with his mother and what police described as “other family members” present.

Hammond also pointed to Hoyle’s history of illegal drug abuse and failed attempts at therapy at Northwestern Community Center. Could his admitted use of marijuana while on the high-doses of Xanax accentuated the negative impact of the drug on him, Hammond asked the court.

The assistant commonwealth’s attorney also presented Hoyle’s record at RSW Jail since his arrest on March 27, 2017, which included 43 behavioral incidents including fights with other inmates, failing to follow guard orders and making “hooch” which RSW Records Supervisor Sarah Fields testified is a homemade alcohol made by inmates out of leftover food.

Defense counsel Coyne countered that the 43 citations covered a period of 770 days in jail; that 10 complaints were written up by one guard and that in at least one of the two fights Hoyle was involved in, it was he who was struck first. During his testimony Hoyle said the fight in which he threw the first punch was with an inmate he had seen get into four previous fights leading him to believe his action was essentially a pre-emptive act of self defense.

Not a summer camp or a therapeutic center – RSW Regional Jail has been Hoyle’s residence for two years. He will now move into the state correctional system to serve the balance of a 13-year sentence. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

“Did you ever threaten an officer?” Coyne asked his client during direct examination.

“No,” Hoyle replied, elaborating, “I did call an officer an asshole – I did do that. He was being cruel,” Hoyle added by way of explanation.

“This is a tragic, tragic case in many ways – he’s admitted it. But it must be viewed in the context of how it happened. There is so much pain that will not be taken away by time served. Clearly he does accept responsibility,” Coyne said in closing arguments.

Of the commonwealth’s argument that Hoyle had not followed up on therapy suggestions in the past, Coyne said, “No, he didn’t follow through on therapy – that is the behavior of an addict.
Hoyle’s family members all said they would be there for their son and brother to help him stay on the path of recovery outside prison walls, including staying away from non-prescribed drugs and accessing and maintaining the therapeutic help Dr. Stejskal recommended for Hoyle.

Younger sister Faith Horton, 23, said she had lived with David most of her life. She called him “the best big brother in the world” and said she would be his “biggest supporter” when he was released to see he got and maintained the psychological help Dr. Stejskal said would be of most benefit to Hoyle gaining and maintaining psychological stability. Such therapeutic help will not be available to Hoyle in Department of Corrections facilities, Dr. Stejskal pointed out.

Of Hammond’s pointing to Hoyle’s testimony that he was reluctant to be given new prescriptive medication, Coyne said, “He didn’t say he won’t take prescriptions in the future, he expressed a heartfelt fear because of what happened … proper treatment cannot be achieved in DOC (Department of Corrections), not at RSW,” defense counsel said of what is available to inmates in criminal detention facilities.

However, all of Hoyle’s family and friends who have maintained contact with him since his arrest pointed to a relative return to normal from being off the wrong medication and on properly prescribed medicine while at RSW Regional Jail.

So if not therapy, at least Hoyle’s drug intake will be carefully monitored while he is in prison. If given credit for his two years of time served, when released he will have 13 years of controlled medication behind him at age 45. Athey said he would leave an order on therapy during the 10 years of supervised probation up to the probation officer at the time of Hoyle’s release.

In prefacing his decision the judge said he took state sentencing guidelines very seriously as a means of assuring citizens across the commonwealth are treated equally for the commission of similar crimes.

“This was a tragedy getting ready to happen,” Athey said of the shooting death of Warren Ramsey at the hands of a young man he had been like a second father to. In particular the judge was referencing law enforcement and family testimony about a November 29, 2016 incident four months before the shooting leading to a police response to the home.

Hoyle had placed a 911 call that he was being held against his will at the family’s Grand Avenue residence. It took police seven to eight hours to talk Hoyle out of his room where he had barricaded himself against the imagined threats outside his door.

The Grand Avenue murder scene.

That incident led to a trip to Warren Memorial Hospital and the issuing of an Emergency Custody Order (ECO) to keep Hoyle under observation. He was shortly released to the custody of his father, David Glynn Hoyle Sr. who has since passed away, with a “safety plan”. However, testimony indicated he soon returned to Grand Avenue to live. And as the law apparently required under ECO parameters, his three pistols were returned to him.

And while two of those guns had been sold as requested by his family, and a third one was planned for sale, it was still in the home the evening of March 27, 2017, as was David Glynn Hoyle Jr.’s delusional paranoid state brought on by over-medication and misdiagnosis by a since-decertified psychiatric professional.

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Two Dinwiddie, VA men arrested; firearms, felony assault, outstanding warrants & more



On Sunday, June 28th at approximately 02:21 AM, Deputy C. Clatterbuck, and Deputy R. Burleson conducted a traffic stop on Fort Valley Road in the area of the Shenandoah County line. During the stop, it was found that the driver of the vehicle was wanted out of another jurisdiction.

Another vehicle arrived at the scene that was traveling with the vehicle on the traffic stop. While Clatterbuck was interacting with the second vehicle, Clatterbuck heard a series of gunshots in the woods near him. After a few minutes, Clatterbuck heard a second round of gunshots in the woods closer to him. After investigation, it was found that the gunshots came from a male occupant of the second vehicle.

Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male occupant, identified as Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody a short time later without incident. Davis was charged with 4.1-305 Underage Possession of Alcohol, 18.2-460 Obstruction of Justice, 18.2-56.1 Reckless Handling of a Firearm, 18.2-57 Felony Assault of LEO X2, and 18.2-388 Public Intoxication.

Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male driver, identified as Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody without incident. Scites was charged with 46.2-301 Driving Suspended/Revoked 3rd or subsequent offense, 18.2-250.1 possession of marijuana, and served with his outstanding warrants out of Henrico County.

Both Davis and Scites were held without bond and are currently at RSW Regional Jail. Warren County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Front Royal Police Department, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office we would like to thank these agencies for their assistance.

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Virginia Beach man arrested on charge of transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure or kill U.S. Senator



Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator. Photo courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

A Virginia man, who allegedly transmitted a threat via interstate commerce to kill a United States Senator, was arrested yesterday in Virginia Beach on a federal criminal complaint. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund made the announcement today following the defendant’s initial court appearance this afternoon.

Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator.

According to court documents, on the morning of September 2, 2019, Jayne called the Abingdon office of United States Senator Mark Warner and threatened to kill the Senator regarding Jayne’s perceived lack of receiving Social Security payments.

The investigation of this matter is being conducted by the United States Capitol Police, and the Burlington, Vermont Police Department. The Virginia Beach Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the apprehension of the suspect. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer R. Bockhorst is prosecuting the case for the United States.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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Two Frederick County residents charged in Bealton murder investigation



On Sunday, June 21, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office announced two additional arrests in the suspicious death investigation of a woman found deceased in Bealton on June 18. As previously reported, on Saturday, June 20, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was arrested by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on charges of 1st Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice, concealing evidence of a felony. Glascock was initially being held without bond in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren (RSW) Regional Jail.

Now lead investigative agency Fauquier County has announced that two Stephens City residents have been arrested by Frederick County authorities on charges related to the Bealton murder investigation.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20, and Maria Dawn Embrey, 40, have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder and are being held in the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20

Maria Dawn Embrey, 40

The Fauquier Sheriff’s release states that “It is alleged that Melody Dawn Glascock conspired with both James Embrey and Maria Embrey to commit the murder of Kelly Marie Gray,” the release states.

Previously the deceased Bealton individual had only been identified as a 40-year-old woman with severe trauma to her abdomen area. The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office report on the response to Gray’s residence states, “On Thursday, June 18, 2020, deputies responded to Gray’s apartment where she was found by a family member suffering from severe trauma to the torso. The homicide investigation quickly revealed suspects.”

Melody Dawn Glascock

It was also announced that Glascock was transferred over the weekend to the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center in Warrenton, where she remains incarcerated without bond. She now faces a third charge, conspiracy to commit murder.

UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation

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UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation



According to the RSW Jail website, a woman, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was booked into the facility at 8:34 a.m. Saturday morning, June 20, on a charge of 1st Degree Murder, non-capital, and Obstruction of Justice – the destruction of evidence of a felony. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office was listed as the arresting agency.

More on this story as information becomes available.

The Fauquier Sheriff’s Office has issued a press release tying the arrest of Melody D. Glascock in Warren County to their investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. The release also notes that Glascock is a resident of Marshall, but did not add any detail to the circumstance of her arrest in Warren County.

Marshall resident Melody Dawn Glascock was apprehended in Warren County related to a Fauquier Sheriff’s Office investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. – Photo/RSW Jail

Below is the Saturday morning, June 20 Fauquier release, followed by their June 19 release on the Bealton investigation:

June 20, 2020 11:30 a.m.

UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the Thursday night homicide in Bealeton. MELODY DAWN GLASCOCK, 54, of Marshall, has been charged by Fauquier County detectives with 1st-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Glascock was apprehended this morning in Warren County and is currently held with no bond in the RSW Regional Jail. More information will be forthcoming.

June 19, 2020


Deputies responded to a suspicious death at approximately 7 p.m. on Thursday night, June 18, 2020. Upon arriving in the 6300 block of Village Center Drive deputies located a deceased female in an apartment. The 40-year-old victim was apparently found when a family member returned home.

The victim suffered severe trauma to the torso. An autopsy will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas, VA, on Friday, June 19, 2020, to determine the exact cause and manner of death. This incident is currently under investigation as a homicide.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office at 540-347-3300.

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Rappawan, Campbell Realty civil hearing date set; April Petty, Jesse Poe pre-trial hearing request under consideration by court



Although neither she nor her attorney was present live or virtually for scheduled Economic Development Authority civil case hearings Thursday morning, June 18, Jennifer McDonald’s presence was apparent throughout defense motion’s hearing arguments in the cases of defendants April Petty and Jesse Poe.

Prior to those arguments a hearing date of July 30, beginning at 8:30 a.m. was set for pre-trial motions in the cases of Rappawan Inc., and principal William Vaught Jr. and Century 21, Campbell Realty Inc., and principals Walter and Jeannette Campbell. Attorneys for those defendants were among the few physically present in the older, larger Warren County Circuit Courtroom with Judge Bruce D. Albertson Thursday morning.

The Campbells were represented by Warrenton attorney Peter Hansen; Rappawan and Vaught by local real estate attorney Joseph Silek Jr., though it appeared Hansen might also have a hand in the Rappawan case. However, he said he would defer to Silek on the availability of the July 30 date for that client.

It was noted that coming motions reply dates were July 10 for a plaintiff response to defense motions, and July 24 for a defense reply to the plaintiff’s assertions in their reply.

‘They didn’t know’
In arguing for a pre-trial plea in bar hearing for his clients, April Petty and Jesse Poe – the latter not to be confused with fellow civil defendant Donald Poe – attorney William Shmidheiser III repeatedly told the court he was not disputing lead civil defendant Jennifer McDonald’s embezzlement of the amounts of money cited in real estate home purchases McDonald achieved for his clients, rather he was asserting his clients had no knowledge that that money (totaling $410,000) had been embezzled.

While not directly involved in Thursday’s EDA civil hearings, Jennifer McDonald, left with then EDA Board Chair Patty Wines, cast a long shadow over two defendants’ arguments for a pre-trial hearing chance to plead their innocence. Their arguments, who would have suspected a successful local real estate agent and Economic Development executive of criminal embezzlement? Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

So, Shmidheiser told Judge Albertson his clients should have the right to present their cases to him at a plea and bar hearing prior to the primary civil trial alleging a conspiracy among all 15 defendants to benefit from McDonald crimes, admitted or alleged, in an amount totaling over $21 million dollars.

The amount of embezzled money he cited involving his clients was $125,000 in Petty’s transaction and $285,000 in Jesse Poe’s. Their attorney said his clients recruited McDonald to be their real estate agent for home purchases from knowing her through family connections. Poe dated a niece of McDonald’s at the time, his attorney said; and Petty knew McDonald as the successful “golden child” of relatives she knew socially.

Shmidheiser said that if his clients could be proven to not have been involved in the larger conspiracy alleged by the plaintiff in a pre-trial plea and bar hearing, it would serve the “judicial economy” in simplifying and speeding up the primary case.

Arguing for the plaintiff EDA after being introduced to the court over phone connection by lead Sands Anderson/EDA attorney Cullen Seltzer, was Sean Hudson. Hudson countered the defense “judicial economy” argument, noting that Schmidheiser’s clients weren’t denying that embezzled funds had been used in their real estate transaction, only that they weren’t aware it was embezzled at the time of their home purchases with former EDA Executive Director McDonald acting as their real estate agent.

EDA attorney Hudson also noted that neither Petty nor Poe had offered to return the embezzled money utilized in their home purchases; adding his firm had not yet been able to depose either defendant, a conversation between plaintiff and defendants that could lead to a pre-trial settlement offer.

Defense counsel Shmidheiser countered that once involved, he had offered multiple dates for depositions of his clients but that an impasse with Sands Anderson over a location for those depositions – the law firm’s Richmond home base or Warren County where the case will be heard – had occurred.

Their attorney also noted that neither April Petty nor Jesse Poe had been indicted by the EDA Criminal Case Special Grand Jury after testifying before it, in Petty’s case at least, multiple times. That indicated the grand jury believed his clients’ stories, Schmidheiser asserted to the court.

The Warren County Courthouse is cranking back up toward a late-pandemic caseload, though still partly by remote hook up and masked, social distancing inside.

“She would like some closure. She has a lot at stake,” her attorney said, pointing to her federal emergency management job.

As the arguments concluded, Judge Albertson returned to the oft-touched topic of “fairness” and asked plaintiff counsel if he thought it “fair” that the court is allowed to at least “consider a pre-trial resolution for two or more defendants”.

After a long pause, Hansen offered that he thought keeping the defendants in the primary civil action would achieve the best chance of a pre-trial settlement, ultimately serving to streamline the case to the desired “judicial economy”.

Judge Albertson then took the arguments under advisement.

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Update: State Police add detail on Saturday night high-speed pursuit



In a press release issued Wednesday, June 17, shortly before 3 p.m. the Culpeper Office of the Virginia State Police added detail to the circumstance of the high speed chase through three counties the previous Saturday evening. As reported in Royal Examiner, that chase and apprehension led to multiple charges, criminal and traffic, against 33-year-old Bryan Douglas Walters of Luray.

Walters is currently being held without bond in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail.

Bryan D. Walters – Photo/RSW Jail

The full text of the VSP release, which varies slightly on information gathered from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on Front Royal Police involvement, is presented below:

“A Luray, Va. man is behind bars on multiple charges in two counties after he fled law enforcement Saturday (June 13, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Bryan D. Walters, 33, in Warren County with two felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice. In Frederick County, state police have charged Walters with one felony count of eluding law enforcement, and one count of driving while revoked.

“The pursuit Saturday was initiated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. As it continued north on Route 11 entering Frederick County at approximately 8:29 p.m., state police took over the pursuit and continued behind the fleeing 2012 Jeep Patriot, until it finally crashed into the median on I-66 at the 2.8-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Walters, was taken into custody without further incident. Walters was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

“During the course of the pursuit Walters struck two state police cruisers. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries in that crash.

“The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

“Please contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for details on why/how the pursuit was initiated and their charges.”

Luray man held without bond following lengthy high-speed chase

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