WHEELING - Greg Lee Dugas, 44, of Missouri will spend one-to-five years in prison after admitting to driving the wrong way through the Wheeling Tunnel while trying to escape police.
He pleaded guilty Tuesday before Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims to one count of reckless fleeing in connection with a Sept. 23 police chase.
Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Michael Olejasz said Wheeling police pulled Dugas over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. During the stop Dugas sped away.
"He fled eastward in the westbound lane of Interstate 70 and went the wrong way through the Wheeling Tunnel," he said. "Then, he took the Washington Avenue Exit and crossed over to the westbound lane. As he entered the exit ramp to (W.Va. 2), he nudged a vehicle and pushed it out of his way before crashing near the 16th Street exit."
Dugas was working in the natural gas industry and living at a camp site near the victim's residence in Monroe County. Dugas stole the Ford Excursion from a residence on Keylor Hill Road, just outside of Woodsfield. The chase began at about 10:30 a.m. the following morning when Wheeling police spotted the stolen vehicle.
Dugas told the judge he was thankful for the deal offered by the prosecutor's office.
"I apologize to the court and the people of Wheeling," he said. "I'm grateful that nobody got hurt and I will not allow this to happen again."
As part of the plea agreement between Olejasz and Assistant Public Defender Jake Polverini, the prosecution dropped an accompanying charge of fleeing while DUI returned by the January Ohio County grand jury.
Sims ordered Dugas to pay $300 restitution to the driver of the car nudged during the chase.