Police pursue suspect on foot in Cana

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Suspect can’t outrun Carroll County Sheriff’s Office’s new K9 officer, Buck

By Ethan Campbell

CANA – Two Cana residents were taken into custody this past week following a brief pursuit on foot involving a K9 officer, after police found weapons and illicit substances in the vehicle they were driving.


A report from Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner states that deputies arrested two individuals at Love’s Truck Stop on March 13 for narcotic violations.

According to the report, Deputy Jason Helton was patrolling the area of Old Pipers Gap Road near Love’s Truck Plaza just after 11:20 p.m. when he observed a Ford Explorer with no taillights.

Helton followed the car into the Love’s lot, where the car pulled into a parking spot. Helton approached the car and spoke with both the driver and passenger. According to the report, he recognized the driver to be John Eschler of Cana and knew that he had felony warrants on file from Wythe County.

Gardner stated in the report that, “Mr. Eschler realized they knew his identity and ran from the car towards Old Pipers Gap Road. Deputy Helton took the passenger, Melissa Ann Simmons, into custody, placed her in his car and headed toward Old Pipers Gap Road.”

Deputy Bradley Hoffman, who was in the Lambsburg area, heard the traffic stop and was headed to check on Helton.

“As Deputy Hoffman approached Love’s Truck Plaza, he observed the male run across Old Pipers Gap Road,” Gardner said. “Deputy Hoffman and his K9 partner Buck jumped from the car on foot pursuit. Mr. Eschler refused Deputy Hoffman’s commands to stop and ran into a briar patch. Buck went into the briar patch and apprehended Mr. Eschler.”

After a brief struggle, Hoffman was able to take Eschler into custody, the report said.

Gardner said a search of the Explorer revealed heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in the passenger compartment, as well as a loaded syringe.

John Edwards Eschler III, 30, listed as homeless, as charged with two counts of possession of narcotics (heroin and methamphetamine), possession of a concealed weapon (a machete and ammunition), obstruction of justice and driving on a revoked license (seventh offense). Eschler was taken before the magistrate and is being held in the New River Valley Regional Jail without bond.

Melissa Ann Simmons, 42, of Carrollwood Trailer Park in Cana, was charged with two counts of possession of narcotics (heroin and methamphetamine) and possession of pills (which will be sent to the lab to be tested). Simmons was brought before the magistrate and was transported to the regional jail under a $5,000 secured bond.