Dustin L. Leisure, 30, and Ashley D. Lowe, 28, appeared Monday in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas on charges of failure to comply after they fled from police during a traffic stop and their vehicle crashed and burst into flames.
The two Washington Court House residents each plead guilty to one charge of failure to comply, a third-degree felony.
The charges came after an incident earlier this year when a Washington C.H. police officer saw Leisure riding in a car as a front seat passenger at 526 Peabody Ave. Leisure had a warrant for his arrest, according to court records.
The police officer made a traffic stop on the car, being driven by Lowe.
In a statement, a witness described that as the police officer walked around the car, the car took off, and the officer would have been ran over if he wouldn’t have jumped out of the way.
The driver, Lowe, led officers on a pursuit out of city limits at a high rate of speed on Route 22 and then onto Route 62 into Bloomingburg, stopping north of Bloomingburg when the vehicle crashed in the 6000 block of West Road, overturned and caught fire. According to reports, Leisure, not Lowe, was operating the vehicle when it crashed.
Leisure wrote in a statement that he ordered Lowe to get out of the driver seat and switch seats with him at an intersection just after where the police officer stopped them.
At some point in the chase, the officer lost sight of the vehicle, according to facts set on the record by the state.
Following the crash, Leisure required emergency medical treatment for a broken neck, according to the police records.
Lowe was treated and released back into the custody.
“At the time we were leaving a known drug house, I did have a warrant for my arrest,” said Leisure during Monday’s court hearing. “I forced her out of the seat. She was crying and telling me to stop. I did not comply, because, I’m not going to lie, I was high. I was on heroin at that time.”
Leisure said the experience has been “life-changing.”
Leisure has a prior conviction, according to court records, and was released from prison in July of 2015 after serving a year in prison for a charge of illegal conveyance of drugs or prohibited items onto the grounds of a detention facility or institution.
Lowe has a sentencing date scheduled for Jan. 17. The state is recommending a prison sentence. According to the state, Lowe has no prior felony convictions and no misdemeanor offenses of violence within the last two years. Prior to sentencing, the Fayette County Adult Probation Office will make an assessment by conducting a pre-sentence investigation. Lowe faces a maximum of three years in prison and up to a lifetime suspension of her driver’s license.
Leisure was sentenced to 18 months in prison and received a 10-year suspension of his driver’s license. He was credited with 36 days jail time credit in the Fayette County Jail and ordered to pay the costs for prosecution.