Altercation leads to protective orders in Logan
by Ron Gregory
LOGAN — The simmering dispute between former reporter Chris Stratton and Logan County Code Enforcement Officer Ray Perry continued today in downtown Logan. At the end of the day, both Perry and his wife Donna had secured protection orders against Stratton and Logan County Sheriff Sonya Dingess Porter allegedly witnessed at least part of an altercation at the corner of Stratton and Dingess streets.
In addition, rumors were rampant that Porter and/or a deputy had cited Stratton for a traffic violation. Meanwhile, efforts by the Porters to obtain criminal warrants for Stratton were apparently thwarted by a state trooper who told Donna Perry that it is not a violation of the law for Stratton to have slapped her hand to push a camera away during the fracas.
As with similar situations, various witnesses had slightly different stories to tell about the incident. It appears that Sheriff Porter was stopped at the traffic light on Stratton Street at the Dingess Street corner. Perry apparently followed Porter. He and his wife were in a county vehicle. Later, Donna Perry explained that she and her husband were headed to Chief Logan State Park to “clean up” the area for Pickin’ in the Park.
At some point while the sheriff and the Perrys were waiting for the light to change, Ray Perry apparently discovered that Stratton was behind the county vehicle either taking video or still photos.
Perry said he got out of his vehicle when he saw Stratton and walked back to ask what the ex-reporter was doing. Donna Perry closely accompanied her husband and videotaped the entire incident. Heated words were exchanged between Ray Perry and Stratton before Stratton is shown raising his hand, shouting a profanity and shoving Donna Perry and her camera out of the way.
When asked what Porter was doing during this exchange, Donna Perry said she did not know but added that the sheriff did not go through the light.
Ray Perry said he then walked away from Stratton’s vehicle, walked up to the sheriff’s car and informed her of what was happening. He said he told her that Stratton had been “stalking” him and that he believed Stratton was driving a vehicle with expired license plates and on an suspended driver’s license. Perry said Porter told him she would call a deputy to the scene. This incident occurred around 11 a.m.
The Perrys said they had been told that either Porter or her deputy had cited Stratton but let a woman who was accompanying him in his vehicle drive the car away.
Both Perrys immediately reported the matter to the state police and went to Magistrate Dwight Williamson to secure temporary personal safety orders (PSO). Williamson, who told a reporter he has “no choice” but to issue such orders when sought and “sworn to,” issued two PSOs against Stratton. Ray Perry was granted his order because he alleged that Stratton had been stalking him. Donna Perry was issued an order because she said Stratton had committed “repeated credible threats of bodily injury knowing or having reason to know that the threats caused reasonable fear for (her) safety.”
Both PSOs are set for a hearing as to whether they should be made permanent at 10 a.m., Monday, June 12.
The Perrys said they later met with the state trooper who informed them that Stratton was within the law since Donna Perry “had that camera right in his face.”
Efforts to contact Sheriff Porter were unsuccessful. She was not in her office and did not return a message left there or another left on her cell phone.
Stratton, who at one time was employed as a reporter by the Logan Banner, has been in a feud with the Porters on social media for some time. A few weeks ago, Ray Perry obtained a temporary PSO when Stratton allegedly threatened Perry at his office in the county commission annex. Perry later withdrew the order.
Stratton is recently best known for his association with State Senator Richard Ojeda. As recently as a week ago, Stratton was issuing “press releases” for Ojeda’s current campaign for congress; Two weeks ago in a taped video, Ojeda called Stratton his hero.” Lately, however, Stratton has complained about a “friend” who he said has dismissed his services and friendship. That “friend” appears to be Ojeda, although Stratton has not mentioned him by name..