Virginia investigation could involve Lafayette fugitive

Law enforcement officials in Salem, Va., are checking whether there is a link connecting an abandoned car with a Louisiana license plate found there Thursday, a Jeep Cherokee stolen Friday morning and Wade Lohse, a fugitive from Lafayette facing multiple felony charges who posted a YouTube video that tries to minimize his responsibility in a woman’s death.

Virginia authorities Friday said police there had found an abandoned Mazda 6 at around 9 a.m. Thursday, according to a statement released via email in Lafayette by Capt. Kip Judice with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Salem police determined the abandoned white 2011 Mazda 6 had been reported stolen from Louisiana, the release stated, adding that police could not locate a person who had been seen around the Mazda before police arrived.

“This morning, further investigation revealed that the vehicle had possibly been occupied by a wanted fugitive identified as Wade Barrette Lohse,” according to the release. “Lohse is wanted in Louisiana for failing to appear in court on original charges of vehicular homicide, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and burglary.”

Lohse was scheduled to stand trial March 25 on the weapons charge. Lohse, who spent nine years in federal prison on an illegal weapons conviction and was released in 2006, left the Lafayette Parish courthouse saying he had to deposit coins in an outside parking meter and never returned.

Early this week, a video featuring Lohse turned up on YouTube. In the video, Lohse claims prosecutors are trying to railroad him and he denies being intoxicated when he crashed his Jeep Cherokee into the car driven by Cacie Barras McGrew last June, killing the 29-year-old mother of one.

The Jeep reported stolen in Salem at 7 a.m. Friday is a white 1999 Grand Cherokee Laredo, Salem police said in the release.

The Jeep has the Virginia license plate XXF-5792 and a red rear bumper sticker claiming “I Have A Great Dane That Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student,” police said.

The Jeep also has a headlight and a tail light that do not work, police said.

The statement contains numbers from the U.S. Marshals Office in Lafayette that witnesses can call: (337) 319-4086 and (337) 251-6921.