By Richard Kerns
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER – A Cumberland man accused of running a Route 220 police roadblock on his motorcycle in October is in jail after failing to appear in court Friday for initial proceedings related to the three felony and two misdemeanor charges he faces.
Leo Rodenhauser, 20, is being held at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail pending an appearance in Mineral County Circuit Court, probably later this month.
Rodenhauser was among those named on last week's Grand Jury indictment list who were required to appear at the Mineral County Courthouse to begin scheduling court proceedings related to the charges placed against them. Attendance at the Friday call-back is mandatory, and when Rodenhauser did not appear, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Court officials said the West Virginia State Police picked him up sometime over the weekend.
Rodenhauser is accused of operating a motorcycle at speeds of up to 100 mph on Route 220 south of Keyser, and into the city itself, as he was pursued the night of Oct. 26 by a State Police trooper who had attempted to pull him over for speeding.
As the motorcyclist approached a roadblock in front of the old Potomac Valley Hospital manned by two deputies from the Mineral County Sheriff's Department, he came to a halt, but then raced through a gap in the two squad cars. As the deputies were attempting to clear their vehicles so that State Police could continue the pursuit, an officer from the Keyser Police Department responding to the call struck two parked cars nearby, resulting in a collision with one of the two sheriff cruisers.
The Keyser officer suffered facial injuries that have kept him out of service since the Oct. 26 incident. The injured deputy was treated and released.
The motorcyclist was able to elude capture. However, law enforcement authorities received a tip that Rodenhauser had spoken of the incident to friends. Subsequent investigation by State Police led to the charges placed against him.
Rodenhauser is charged with three felonies: Reckless fleeing in a vehicle, and two counts of fleeing in a vehicle causing bodily injury. He also faces two misdemeanor charges of fleeing in a vehicle causing property damage.
Court officials said Rodenhauser will probably remain jailed until the end of the month, when the judge is scheduled to convene proceedings similar to those that were held Friday.