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Fri, Mar 24, 2017 09:10 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Accidents lead police to stolen vehicles
by Lilly Adkins

INEZ — Two unrelated accidents led to the recovery of two stolen vehicles and one arrest by Martin County Sheriff Garmon Preece early Friday morning.

Jerry Lee Endicott, 26, of Inez, was arrested at the scene of the second accident and charged with receiving stolen property, first-degree criminal mischief, obscuring the identity of a machine and alcohol intoxication.

Preece caught Endicott with his arms and head inside the stolen vehicle and a fire had been started in the glove box and the floor of the automobile, the sheriff said.

Preece explained the chain of events leading to the recovery of the two stolen vehicles. He said dispatch called him around 3 a.m. Friday to go to the scene of an accident at Pigeon Roost, but before arriving at the scene, dispatch informed him of a second accident on Rt. 292 at Turkey.

“As I was going to the first wreck, I was called to go to Route 292 at Turkey creek, where there was another wreck and they said that the truck was in the road, but nobody was around. I told them I would go there when I finished the first one,” Preece said. “When I got to the Pigeon Roost wreck, a truck and a van were front bumper to front bumper in the ditchline. There were three people in the truck and they said that the person driving the van ran and they didn’t see him or know who he was.”

Preece said the van was stolen from the Logan County, W.Va., school system.

“We are going to try and get some fingerprints from the vehicle to see if we can figure out who was driving it,” Preece said. “The van had ‘Unit 4, electrician department’ on the side of it and ‘941’ on the front. It was registered in the NCIC.”

After clearing the scene of the first accident, Preece went to the second wreck, where he made the arrest.

“When I got there, a car was parked but took off when they saw me and a man was standing at the truck with his upper body and head and his hands inside of it. The vehicle was not in the road as it was originally reported. He (Endicott) had the door on the left side open and I looked inside. There was a fire in the glove box and another in the floor. Some clothes in the floor were on fire. The fire had just been started, so I put the one in the glove box out with my flashlight and then pulled the clothes out and threw them on the ground and stomped them out.”

The 1993 F150 pickup truck reportedly belonged to Dan Lambert of Lenore, W.Va., and had been stolen earlier the same morning from a location in Kermit. The owner had reported the vehicle stolen and alerted 911 that the vehicle was headed to Martin County.

“He said that his grandma had dropped him off and I told him that I found it difficult to believe that his grandma had dropped him off at 3 a.m. and took off when she saw me, just leaving him there,” Preece said. “The plates on the vehicle had been changed and came back as registered to Jason Yerian from Buckeye Lake.”

Preece said he suspects that other people were also involved, but was unable to say who or how many others. Endicott maintains that he didn’t start the fire but “the fire had just started and nobody else was around,” Preece said.

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