AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Three people are facing charges in Augusta County after attacking deputies and leading law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit from Staunton nearly into Highland County.
On Wednesday morning, at 10;17 a.m. members of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Division, alongside U.S. Marshals, tried to make contact with a pair of wanted women who were seen in the parking lot of the Staunton Mall.
The women were identified as 30-year-old Ashley Lynn Fortune and 35-year-old Nicole Elizabeth Glenn.
However, when deputies and U.S. Marshals approached the 2002 Nissan Sentra the women were inside, the driver, identified as 59-year-old Michael Lee Barkley, shifted the car into drive and ignored "numerous commands to stop," according to the Augusta County Sheriff's Office.
When Barkley took off, an Augusta County deputy was already partially inside the door of the car, and he was hit by the door and nearly dragged away by the car as it fled.
Deputies then initiated a pursuit, following Barkley as he left the Staunton Mall parking lot and went north on State Route 262 at 70-75 mph.
Deputies along the road set up spike strips to bring a swift end to the chase, but Barley then exited Rt. 262 and headed west on Route 250 (Churchville Ave.)
Nearing the intersection with Eagle Rock Lane, Barkley slowed down and took the chance to intentionally ram a deputy's cruiser before contiunuing west on Rt. 250 on to Hankey Mountain Highway.
As the chase got closer to West Augusta, the Highland County Sheriff's Office was notified, and the chase kept going up Shenandoah Mountain.
However, Barkley was unable to negotiate the sharp curves of Rt. 250 over Shenandoah Mountain, and struck a guardrail. But the car was not yet disabled, and he rammed an Augusta County cruiser two more times before losing control and striking a guardrail again.
All three people inside the car were arrested without incident and without injury, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The deputy whose cruiser was rammed three separate times received minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Inside the vehicle, deputies found suspected narcotics, which were seized.
Barkley was charged with four counts of assault and battery on law enforcement, felony eluding, and driving on a revoked or suspended license.
Fortune was charged with failure to appear on a drug-related charge in February and manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance.
Glenn faced identical charges to Fortune, plus a second failure to appear charge for driving on a suspended license on March 1.