By Margie Wuebker
A Fort Recovery-area man has been indicted on multiple felonies ranging from auto theft to fleeing and eluding following two pursuits earlier this month in Mercer County and neighboring Indiana.
Douglas Frericks, 30, formerly of 405 Benner Road, faces a total of six felonies in four new cases. He has yet to enter pleas on a three-count indictment handed down by a Mercer County grand jury in May.
Grand jurors indicted Frericks on theft of a motor vehicle, theft by deception, two counts of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, obstructing official business and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs during a Thursday session. The charges range from third- to fifth-degree felonies.
The first pursuit occurred Sept. 5 when Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Ed Springer spotted Frericks behind the wheel of a 1997 Chevy Camaro crossing into Ohio from Indiana Route 67, west of Celina. A bench warrant had been issued in Mercer County Common Pleas Court in late August after Frericks failed to show up for a scheduled drug test, one of the terms imposed when he was released on his own recognizance in the earlier case.
Springer activated the cruiser's flashing lights and siren, but Frericks turned onto State Line Road and failed to pull over. The deputy continued to follow the suspect into Indiana but terminated the pursuit when he encountered gravel roadways and slow-moving Amish traffic. Authorities later learned Frericks had sold the Camaro to a Fort Recovery man. He reportedly accepted payment but never turned over the vehicle or the title.
The second pursuit occurred Sept. 8 after a Berne, Ind., police officer spotted the Camaro with a burnt-out tailight around 1 a.m. Sgt. Jim Newbold attempted to stop the car but Frericks speed away toward Geneva, Ind., where officers deployed tire-deflating devices at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Indiana Route 116. Frericks drove over the devices, puncturing the left front tire.
He continued driving through the Geneva and Bryant area as the deflated tire disintegrated. Speeds exceeded 100 miles per hour as Newbold and Geneva police officer Curt Vanover pursued the Camaro.
Frericks traveled into Mercer County along Pine, Wabash and Schroeder roads before pulling over near the intersection of Pine and Burrville roads. He surrenderd without incident.
Mercer County Sheriff's Deputy Darrell Etgen responded to the scene as the pursuit ended. Authorities searched the car and reportedly found two cylinders containing anhydrous ammonia and 26 boxes of over-the-counter cold medications, precursors in the production of methamphetamine.
Arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday before Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham. He remains in the Mercer County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
Frericks was set to stand trial Oct. 6 in the same courtroom on charges of illegal manufacture or cultivation of drugs (methamphetamine), illegal assembly or possession of chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs and breaking and entering. The latter charge stems from a May incident involving the theft of anhydrous ammonia from Mercer Landmark near Coldwater.
He also faces charges of driving under suspension, resisting arrest, speeding, three stop sign violations and no/improper vehicle lights in Indiana. There is also the likelihood of felony charges being filed in that state.