Lawrence J. Smith
Laishley April 12, 2020 booking photo
Laishley April 12, 2020 booking photo

Wayne - A Huntington attorney faces potential incarceration for his failure to appear at a hearing last week on pending criminal charges related to a hit-and-run last year.

Wayne Magistrate David Ferguson issued a capias on March 17 for John H. Laishley after he was a no-show for a hearing earlier that day for finalization of a plea agreement.  In April, Laishley, 72, of Huntington, was charged in both Cabell, and Wayne Magistrate courts when he collided with another vehicle on Morrow Rd., left the scene of the accident before exchanging insurance information with the other driver and found inebriated still in his vehicle on the driveway of his home.

According to the criminal complaint, Senior Trooper A.T. Farmer received a dispatch about a possible hit-and-run in the 500 block of Morrow Rd.  Upon arrival, he met with Alissa Perkins who said a man driving a red Honda Civic sideswiped her Dodge Caravan. 

Though the driver stopped a short distance later, and spoke with her, Perkins said he refused to provide her any insurance information.  As he abruptly left the scene heading for Eighth St. Rd. Perkins took a picture of the vehicle's license plate.

When he ran the plate, Farmer found the Civic registered to Laishley.  

According to the complaint, Corporal K. Williams was dispatched to Laishley's home on Buena Vista Dr. in the Spring Valley section of Huntington.  There, Williams "observed Laishley in the drivers seat of the vehicle and the engine on."

After he arrived, Farmer said Laishley "had the odor of an alcoholic beverage being omitted from his breath" and his "speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet."  In the vehicle Farmer found an unopened beer can inside a blue bag belonging to Laishley. 

After providing him unsigned vehicle registration and expired insurance cards, and refusing to submit to field sobriety test,  Farmer placed Laishley under arrest.  In the ride to, and arrival at the Wayne barracks, Farmer averred in the complaint Laishley was "verbally confrontational." 

According to the complaint, Laishley refused to sign the complied consent form, and refused to take an approved chemical test.  After he was charged with DUI, unsigned registration and no proof of insurance, Laishley was released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond. 

The next day Laishely was charged in Cabell Magistrate Court on a charge of accidents involving damage to a vehicle, and released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. 

Records show, discussion of an unspecified global plea agreement began in October.  Plans to have it completed by Dec. 23 were stymied when the Cabell County Commission announced closure of the courthouse until Jan. 4 due to a surge in coronavirus cases. 

Prior to the one scheduled for March 17, hearings scheduled for Feb. 2 and 24 were continued due to Laishley becoming ill, and closure of the Wayne County Courthouse from the power outages caused by the Winter storm, respectively. 

When reached by telephone on Thursday, Laishley said his failure to appear was not deliberate.  Instead, he did not receive a notice of the hearing.

Upon learning of the capias, Laishley said he called Ferguson's office on Wednesday, and given a rescheduled hearing date of April 1.  When asked why that information was not contained in the court file, he abruptly hung-up the telephone. 

A woman who answered the phone at Ferguson's office Friday morning said the capias is still active, and no filings in the case have been made since then, including a new hearing date.  Also, she said she was not aware of any communication from Laishley. 


Cabell Magistrate Court, case number 20-M-1382/Wayne Magistrate Court, case number 20-M-485