CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man with a history of impaired-driving charges told friends he would "pretend he had a weapon" so authorities would shoot him, rather than go back to jail, police said Friday afternoon.
Police shot and killed Craig M. Keith, 34, early Friday after he led officers from several agencies on a chase spanning three counties. Keith -- who had been living in Charleston and was originally from Altoona, Pa. -- was shot after police used spike strips to stop his vehicle on Interstate 77 in Jackson County.
Keith had served time in Pennsylvania on charges of driving under the influence, assault and obstructing officers, West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said during a news conference Friday afternoon.
After Keith was killed, a friend of his told police that Keith had said he would not be sent back to jail, Baylous said.
"He was willing to do whatever necessary to keep from going back to jail," Baylous said, "including pretending he had a weapon to have police shoot him."
According to Baylous, Keith got out of his vehicle on the interstate before he was shot. Baylous would not say if Keith had a weapon, citing the ongoing investigation.
The chase began at the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Nitro at about 2:20 a.m. Casino security workers called police after Keith was asked to leave and created a disturbance.
When Nitro police arrived, Keith ran. Police chased him on foot before he jumped into a tan Chevrolet Blazer and fled toward Charleston.
The chase -- which eventually included officers from Charleston, South Charleston and Dunbar; the Kanawha County and Jackson County sheriff's departments and State Police troopers -- continued onto Corridor G. Keith first headed south into Lincoln County, then turned around and headed toward Jackson County, Baylous said Friday morning.
He said Keith tried to ram police cruisers and veered dangerously close to other vehicles on the road during the chase, which reached up to 90 mph.
"He was not just trying to get away from us, he was driving recklessly," Baylous said. "This guy showed from the beginning that he was not going to listen to authority or be apprehended. He was out of control."