Jay Hunley, 27, of Columbus faces charges after several crashes.
Captain Steve Goins of the New Boston Police Department said at 8:47 a.m. the (Scioto County) Sheriff’s Office dispatcher got a call from Steve Young, the father of the victim, Stephanie Chapman of 184 Park Street in Wheelersburg, the owner of the car. Goins said Young said he saw someone drive off with his daughter’s car, so he jumped into his semi and began to pursue the vehicle around Wheelersburg and onto U.S. 52 west, all the time communicating by cell phone with the sheriff’s office. Goins said at one point at the Ohio 140 construction site, Young was able to block the vehicle, and got him to stop. But it was then that, after Young was walking toward the vehicle, the driver drove around him, almost striking him.
Goins said his department was notified that the pursuit was coming into New Boston, and he, along with Officer Brian Reed, picked it up at the Marathon Station.
“The vehicle actually stopped in the 4300 block of Gallia Street. When we stopped and were about to get out of the police cruisers, that’s when he took off,” Goins said. “We continued on through New Boston and into the city of Portsmouth on (U.S.) 52. He had turned right on (U.S.) 23 north, where the city of Portsmouth had set up spike strips. He avoided those. He continued on 23 north and when he got to the curve (in front of Andy’s Honda-Toyota) he lost control, and started to fishtail, and he sideswiped one vehicle and then sped out and before he came to a rest, struck a third vehicle.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Bryan Conley said the stolen vehicle hit three other cars, and, in one, a woman was taken for treatment while her husband suffered a minor injury caused by the deployment of the air bag in their car.
Hunley, drove over into the southbound lane and first struck a car driven by Brenda Carson. He continued on and hit a vehicle operated by Richard Wells of Lucasville. Wells suffered the injury from the air bag, and his wife, Lola Wells, was transported to Southern Ohio Medical Center.
The third car was operated by Cassandra Holcomb.
Sonja Gillette was there when the third crash occurred, and narrowly avoided being involved.
“When I was coming to work, I noticed the cop coming down south 23, right before the Big Bear (Lute Supply) traffic light. The cop pulled over and was putting stakes out, and I get here (Andy’s) just before I get ready to pull in that car hit her (Holcomb), and whirled,” Gillette told the Times. “The next thing I know he jumps out of the car, puts his hands up, and hits the ground. It could have been me if I was just a few minutes earlier.”
Goins said Hunley, who has a long criminal record, was taken to SOMC to be looked at, though Goins said he did not have visible signs of injury.
“As far as our office, in New Boston, we will be filing a felony fleeing and eluding charge. It will be a felony four because he created a risk of physical harm to people,” Goins said. “The sheriff’s office is going to be charging him with grand theft auto, and the highway patrol is going to be taking care of the traffic charges.”
After release from SOMC, Hunley was to be taken to the Scioto County Jail, and will appear in Municipal Court this morning.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.