Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
By Margie Wuebker
Police hunt ATV driver after a high-speed chase
A male driver on a four-wheeler led authorities on a pursuit Tuesday afternoon through parts of Celina and northward with speeds ranging from 60 to 75 miles per hour.
The driver, who has not been identified as yet, faces possible felony fleeing charges if apprehended, Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard this morning.
A motorist alerted Mercer County 911 at 3:41 p.m. regarding a male driving a four-wheeler erratically in the area of Fleetfoot Road and state Route 29. The vehicle was spotted on Fairground Road entering Celina within minutes of the initial call.
Authorities attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the driver failed to pull over. With school buses and other vehicles in the area, officers could not put down stop sticks or take more aggressive action.
"He crisscrossed fields and roadways while we ran country blocks," Slusser said. "Roadways on this side of U.S. 33 run east to west and north to south for the most part. However, that changes once you get north of 33."
The unknown driver had no trouble negotiating fields or creek beds but accelerated on roadways to speeds ranging from 60 to 75 miles per hour. It appeared the suspect had trouble keeping the four-wheeler running several times but the vehicle apparently recovered.
Winding roads complicated the pursuit although several cruisers continued to Mendon, but pulled over when the suspect left the village in a northeasterly direction. Mercer County Sheriff's Office cruisers also responded to the Mendon area but did not take part in the pursuit.
Slusser said the search ended around 4:30 p.m. with four police department cruisers returning to service. He denied reports of damage to his cruisers, stating the brakes on one became hot and another had difficulty getting traction on a grassy slope. The officer reportedly attempted to turn around in a hurry and traveled too far down the slope.
"We have a lot of information to help in establishing the identity of the driver," the chief added. "And he faces trouble in terms of felony fleeing."
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