A West Virginia man was convicted Thursday of killing a sheriff's deputy during a police chase in Greene County last February.
After deliberating less than two hours, a Greene County jury found Jerod Green, 36, of Morgantown guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Todd May, a deputy with the Monongalia County Sheriff's Department.
The jury acquitted Mr. Green of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer by vehicle but found him guilty on all the other related charges, including homicide by vehicle while driving drunk.
Police witnesses said Mr. Green intentionally rammed Sgt. May's police car during a Feb. 18 pursuit on Interstate 79 near the West Virginia border.
The chase started in Monongalia County after police pulled over Mr. Green, an Oklahoma native with a history of driving under the influence, on suspicion of driving drunk following a hit-and-run crash in Morgantown.
During the stop, police said, he told officers that he had fled the scene of the hit-and-run because he had four prior drunk-driving convictions.
When an officer told him to turn off the engine of his Chevy Silverado and submit to a sobriety test, he took off, briefly dragging the officer.
Mr. Green fled into Pennsylvania, followed by four police cruisers. He entered the southbound ramp of I-79 at Mount Morris as Sgt. May was heading north and traversing the median to join the chase.
Police said Mr. Green deliberately drove his pickup truck into Sgt. May's cruiser at a speed later calculated to be 98 mph. The sergeant died a short time later at a local hospital.
Mr. Green's blood-alcohol level was determined to be more than twice the legal limit for driving in Pennsylvania.
Marjorie Fox, the Greene County district attorney, told the jury that Mr. Green committed a "deliberate act of murder" using his vehicle as a weapon.
But the jury apparently rejected the idea that Mr. Green intended to kill the deputy and chose to convict on third-degree murder, which involves "extreme indifference" to human life.
Torsten Ove: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1510.