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ST. MARYS — Two teens ended up being flown from a local hospital following a traffic pursuit with St. Marys police officers Thursday night.
An officer with the St. Marys Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop at 5:36 p.m. on Market Street, between Wayne and Main streets, for a vehicle traveling the wrong way down the road. At that point, the occupants in the vehicle reportedly switched places and took off before the officer could conduct the stop.
“The vehicle took off and the officers indicated he was in a pursuit,” St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven told The Evening Leader. “They went toward Mendon and at 5:50 p.m., the officer who initiated the pursuit indicated the vehicle crashed on Howlick Road at Celina-Mendon Road.”
Following the crash, the occupants — a 15-year-old boy from Columbus and a 16-year-old boy from Coldwater — fled the vehicle. Officers were able to catch the teens and they were transported to the hospital as a precaution. Foxhoven noted the teens did not appear to suffer any injuries as a result of the crash — which took place at an estimated speed of 25 mph.
“It appears they ingested something that caused them some significant problems and they were Care Flighted elsewhere,” Foxhoven said.
Foxhoven did not have an update on the teens’ condition as of press time. Investigators later determined the vehicle the teens were in — a white GMC Envoy — was stolen from the Columbus area. Speeds during the pursuit were moderate through town, but reached in excess of 100 mph while on Ohio 116 and Howlick Road. Foxhoven said the officer who initiated the pursuit determined that if the chase reached Ohio 127, he would have ended it because it was getting dark. The incident remains under investigation and the case will be forwarded to the Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for charges. Foxhoven said he believed felony charges are warranted in the case.
“Based on the video I watched and the officer’s report, I believe they crossed the threshold to felony level,” Foxhoven said. “They did put lives in danger, especially in town where there was heavier traffic.”
Assisting with the incident were the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Celina Police Department and the highway patrol.