A Michigan man charged with four felonies after a high-speed chase April 10 in Hillsville has been declared not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the incident. The decision was rendered by Judge Brett Geisler in Carroll County District Court on November 29.
The driver is identified as Jason Andrew Broderick, 34, of Adrian, Michigan. According to Attorney for the defense Karen Boyer, her client was charged with two counts of assaulting law enforcement officers, malicious assault, felony destruction of property and felony eluding a police officer. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity on all five charges. No restitution was announced in the courtroom in connection with the case in lieu of the verdict.
Dr. Colin Barron testified an initial May 23 competency evaluation and another evaluation ordered by District Attorney Nathan Lyons on November 13 were “98 percent” in agreement he was not competent at the time of the incident. Both Lyons and Boyer agreed to stipulations including both evaluations would be entered into record on behalf of Broderick. Barron said his evaluation also included Broderick’s personal history in the weeks prior to the incident and written incident reports from officers at the scene. He said his finding was Broderick had an episode of manic psychosis, (a psychotic disorder of a bi-polar type) where he felt unsafe and “that he to go to Chicago to talk with Mr. Trump.”
Barron said Broderick’s behavior prior to the chase included confusion from the loss of a dog and a car, a flight to Washington D.C., and travel to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina and to Ohio. Barron said this disorder and the accompanying loss of sleep put him in a state of mind fearing for his life at the time of the incident.
“Mr. Broderick didn’t understand the nature of the event. In this state of mind he panicked,” said Barron. “He was too paranoid to sleep, feeling his door would be unlocked and that his phone was programmed so he would die.”
According to a press release issued by the Hillsville Police Department at the time of the incident, the department received a call about a reckless driver from the Carroll County Sheriff’s dispatch office at approximately 8 a.m. that Sunday morning. The vehicle was reported to be on the U.S. 58 Bypass near the Route 52 Exit driving aggressively. HPD Officer Hunter Grubb responded to the call and met a 2016 Honda Accord near Motley Hill on South Main Street in Hillsville traveling at more than 30 miles over the posted speed limit, according to the release.
Officer Grubb, HPD officer Ricky Hayes and HPD Sgt. Alan Gravley then attempted to pull the vehicle over on U.S. 58 using lights and sirens, at which time the car continued westbound at a high rate of speed.
“The vehicle was using the emergency lane at times and traveling in the wrong lane of traffic from the Race-In to the Exit 14 and Interstate 77 interchange,” according to the HPD press release. “During the time the vehicle was traveling west in the eastbound lane, the driver appeared to swerve at other vehicles they met. The vehicle turned into the Cockerham’s Truck Stop with officers in pursuit. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle in the truck stop lot, at which time it attempted to ram Officer Hayes and Sgt. Gravley. The pursuit ended when the driver rammed Officer Grubb’s patrol car in the driver’s side, disabling both vehicles. Officer Hayes and Sgt. Gravley then arrested the driver without further incident or injury.”
The Hillsville Police Department was assisted by Carroll County Sheriff’s Department deputies and the Virginia State Police, who worked the accident related to the HPD vehicle.
“The Hillsville Police Department did a fantastic job in this case,” said Boyer. “Officer Alan Gravley was so kind and professional at the scene when he realized this was a person in a psychotic crisis.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.