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Monday, January 28th, 2008

Minster man accused of striking trooper with vehicle and fleeing

By Shelley Grieshop
A 38-year-old Minster man faces felony charges for drunk driving, striking a trooper with his car and leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase on Interstate 75 in Shelby County early Saturday morning.
Kurt W. Niekamp, 38, 107 N. Hanover St., is expected to appear in Shelby County Municipal Court today to face felony charges of felonious assault on a police officer and fleeing and eluding, and a misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
The Piqua post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported receiving several calls just after midnight Friday concerning a drunk driver traveling in the northbound lane of I-75, north of Dayton. At 12:29 a.m., Trooper Steve Tharp of the Piqua post spotted Niekamp's Oldsmobile Aurora stopped partially in the right lane of the highway; Niekamp was found slumped over the steering wheel.
As Tharp began to walk around the front of the car to the passenger side, Niekamp stepped on the gas and sped away, Weber said. Tharp, who received minor bruises to his shin and foot, broadcast the description of the vehicle on the radio and continued pursuit, which reached speeds of 120 mph.
Tharp was joined by another Piqua post trooper and units from the local Wapakoneta post who caught up with Niekamp minutes later on I-75 in the Botkins area. He refused to exit the car and was removed from the vehicle by the officers, Weber said.
Niekamp refused a Breathalyzer test following his arrest. However, troopers obtained a warrant for a blood test and the results remain pending, according to Weber.
The incident was reportedly captured on video by a camera mounted in the cruiser.
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