Camp Creek, WV - Person Firing A Weapon Call - Handcuffed - Steals West Virginia State Police Car - Talks On Radio - Lights Patrol Car On Fire - Causes Brush Fire

November 8, 2016

A Mercer County man was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday morning after allegedly making a false hostage call, then stealing a West Virginia State Police cruiser and setting it on fire.

The incident started at approximately 5:20 p.m. Monday after Mercer County 911 received a call about a person firing a weapon near a residence along Stovall Ridge in the Camp Creek area, according to Sgt. D.W. Miller, commander of the West Virginia State Police Princeton Detachment. Sr. Trooper L.F. Lee Sr. was dispatched to the scene where he encountered Russell Lilly, 35, of the Camp Creek area, and arrested him.

Lilly allegedly had an argument with the home's residents earlier that day, Miller said. The call 911 had received indicated there could be a hostage situation, but this did not prove to be true.

"Once (Lilly) was secure in the back of the cruiser, Trooper Lee was talking to some witnesses in that area," Miller said. "That's when the suspect Mr. Lilly was able to get access to Trooper Lee's radio in his cruiser."

Lilly's wrists were handcuffed behind his back, but he managed to slip his hands from the back to the front, Miller stated. There was no partition between the cruiser's front and back seats, so he was able to reach the cruiser's radio. Lilly then made a call over the airwaves, yelling that he had been cut off by another vehicle, then handcuffed and blindfolded after being taken hostage.

He screamed profanity over the radio, and became incoherent at one point.

At this point, Mercer 911 and emergency officials had no idea where the supposed hostage call was coming from.

"Once this call came out, 911 advised Trooper Lee of the call," Miller said. "They didn't know what was going on, so Trooper Lee got in his car and went to the area of the staged call." Lilly was in the back of the cruiser, and no one knew he had faked the call.

Lee drove to the scene of the alleged incident that Lilly had falsely reported.

"At that point Trooper Lee got out of his car and attempted to locate the hostage situation," Miller said. "When he came back from checking the call and found it was a fake call, the cruiser was gone."

Other troopers arrived at the scene and scoured the area for the cruiser and Lilly. Lilly allegedly drove the cruiser to the top of Buckhorn Mountain Road and then set it on fire, Miller stated. This ignited a brushfire in that area.

"Mr. Lilly walked back down to the area of the original call and requested friends to remove the handcuffs," Miller said. Troopers then spotted Lilly and took him into custody.

Lilly was facing a charge of wanton endangerment Tuesday morning at his video arraignment before a Mercer County magistrate, and additional charges are forthcoming as the investigation continues, Miller said. Lilly is being held at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.