A Wytheville man who spent time in prison for the 1996 slaying of a teenager was arrested again on April 3 after an officer accused him of speeding through town while drunk.
Eric Dwayne Ball, 43, was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, attempting to elude police, and failing to stop or yield when entering a highway.
In a search warrant application to test Ball’s blood for alcohol, Wytheville Cpl. Bryan Bard said he was driving east on the 700 block of East Liberty Street when he saw a Chevrolet Camaro going west “at a visibly high speed.” Ball lives on East Liberty Street, according to court records.
Bard said he clocked the car going 60 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone.
“The vehicle made several evasive turns in an attempt to elude me,” Bard wrote.
After stopping the car and identifying Ball as the driver, Bard put Ball into his vehicle and “detected a faint odor of alcohol on his person.”
“I offered him the preliminary breath test, but he either would pretend to blow, or provide an inefficient sample,” Bard wrote. “I then began to notice his slurred speech, and unsteady on his feet.”
Ball told a magistrate that he wasn’t trying to elude the officer.
“Got in a fight with girlfriend and did not know how fast he was going,” a magistrate wrote when setting Ball’s bond at $2,500. “Also, he had drank last night.”
Ball, who works at the Bland Correctional Center, has hired Clinton Kegley to represent him and has a May 20 trial set in Wythe County General District Court.
In 1997, Ball was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of murder and abduction in the death of 17-year-old Ricky Lee Coleman. Two co-defendants, Jason Hibbs and Erik Wimmer, were also sentenced to prison.
According to trial evidence, the trio put Coleman, who was heavily intoxicated, into the trunk of Ball’s car, drove him to a remote trash dump and then rolled him over an embankment. The men’s actions followed a party at Hibbs’ Graham’s Forge residence where Hibbs punched Coleman and put him outside because he was tearing up the house.
The boy died from exposure to the cold coupled with his alcohol consumption, according to evidence.
Three charged with burglary, theft
Accused of burglarizing a local residence on April 7 and stealing guns and household goods, three Wytheville residents are facing a host of felony charges.
Robert Edward Brady Coe, 46; Kam Nicholas Phelps, 38; and Jessica Renea Dawn Oaster, 26; were arrested earlier this month by the Wytheville Police Department related to a break-in at Nicole Coley’s residence.
Coe was charged with conspiring to commit burglary, being a felon in possession of a firearm (three counts), burglary, grand larceny (four counts), conspiring to commit larceny (four counts) summoning a law enforcement officer without just cause and giving a false report to law enforcement.
Employed by Home and Commercial Cleaning for four years, Coe is on probation for a 2018 conviction for buying or receiving stolen property, according to court records.
His prior criminal record also includes charges of destruction of property and domestic assault and battery.
Coe is being held without bond in the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin.
Phelps was charged with resisting arrest (two counts), conspiring to commit burglary, conspiring to commit larceny (four counts), being a felon in possession of a firearm (four counts), grand larceny (four counts) and burglary.
Employed by Wendy’s for one day and previously unemployed, Phelps has pending charges of failing to appear in court, probation violation, shoplifting and conspiring to shoplift, according to court records.
He’s also on probation for possessing drugs, and his criminal history includes charges of possessing marijuana, driving while intoxicated, contempt of court and domestic assault and battery.
He’s also being held without bond.
Oaster was charged with obstructing justice, possessing drug paraphernalia, conspiring to commit burglary, conspiring to commit larceny (four counts), being a felon in possession of a firearm (four counts), grand larceny (four counts) and burglary.
Working two months at La Quinta, Oaster has pending charges of trespassing, felony shoplifting, conspiring to commit a felony and failure to serve a sentence, court records show.
Her prior record includes charges of shoplifting, possessing methamphetamine-making ingredients, violating probation and failure to appear in court.
She’s being held on a $3,000 bond.
All three suspects were given court-appointed attorneys and have June 6 preliminary hearings scheduled in Wythe County General District Court.