Man charged with drug possession outbursts at officers

Man charged with drug possession outbursts at officers

Francie Ritchie

ELKINS, W.Va. — A man has been charged after officers found drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop for driving without headlights on.

On Dec. 1, officers with the Elkins Police Department were conducting a routine patrol of the area near Davis Medical Center in Elkins when they passed a vehicle driving without its headlights on, according to a criminal complaint.

Officers then turned around to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle, and while behind the vehicle, driven by Francie Ritchie, 50, officers noticed the Pennsylvania license plate “appeared to have expired in 2013,” officers said.

While behind Ritchie, officers saw him turn on his headlights prior to officers performing the traffic stop; when officers made contact with Ritchie, he was “halfway out of the vehicle through the window,” according to the complaint.

As officers approached Ritchie, he said, ‘It’s all good, buddy. My lights are on now,” and noticed he was “nervous and spoke very rapidly.” When asked if the vehicle was his, Ritchie “could not provide an answer,” officers said.

When Ritchie exited the vehicle, officers noticed “a glass smoking device” which he “attempted to hide” before officers performed a search of the vehicle and Ritchie said, ‘Buddy, there’s nothing in there,’ according to the complaint.

During the search, officers found “a large crystal-like substance in a plastic bag,” as well as “several heroin stamps” and a set of digital scales, officers said.

Officers also located “several empty bags” in the back of the vehicle, and while officers secured the seized items, Ritchie “began to be belligerent and stated, ‘What do you do? You f***ing got 40 grams in one f***ing bag, that’s not even enough to prove my intent’,” according to the complaint.

Ritchie has been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $25,000 bond.