Car Chase Ends with Crash into Wittenberg House
It started out as just another ordinary Witt Wednesday. Or, at least it was normal until a car crashed into the front porch of a house at 740 N. Fountain.
On Jan. 19, at approximately 12:57 a.m., a gray Toyota Camry veered off of the road and hit the home. The vehicle was headed south down N. Fountain when the driver attempted to turn east onto Madison Ave. and lost control of the vehicle.
According to State Trooper Bradley Baker, the first officer to arrive on the scene seconds after the crash, the car chase began on Roosevelt Dr. and Garfield Ave. The chase didn’t last longer than a minute.
Fictitious plates and expired tags led police to believe the car had been stolen, and the car chase ensued.
Immediately after the crash, the driver and the passenger got out of the car. Baker was closest to the passenger and yelled at her to stop, but she continued moving away from the crash. Baker tackled her and detained her as she continued to scream at him. Officers confirmed that the passenger was 11 years old.
The driver got away while Baker was detaining the passenger. Next-door neighbor Michelle Brunswick, ’17, looked out her bedroom window immediately after she heard the crash.
“I saw an African-American male stumble away from the driver’s side of the car,” Brunswick said. “He was clearly disoriented as he stumbled into the street. I saw him stagger to the end of our house, look behind him to make sure no police were following him, and then he took off running down Madison.”
Baker commented that a warrant has been released for the driver’s arrest. Before the car crash, a previous warrant had already called for the driver’s arrest due to driving while intoxicated.
As officers continued to investigate the scene, several students who were headed home for the night began to convene across the street. Brandon Weeber, ’17, had just finished his shift in Founders when he heard the crash while talking to a friend in the student center parking lot.
“We went to go see what was happening and we heard a girl scream,” Weeber said. “She was on the ground and being arrested by a state trooper. Three more state troopers showed up a couple minutes later.”
Lucas George, ‘17, a resident of 740, stated that somehow the crash didn’t manage to wake him up.
“When my roommate came and woke me up, I panicked because I thought I was late for practice. Then, he said ‘there are eight police officers outside and a car in our house.’”
George, and all of his roommates, are a part of Wittenberg’s swimming and diving team. George commented that he was relieved he wasn’t late for practice, but was obviously more worried about everyone’s safety once he realized what was happening.
“It’s easy to rebuild a porch, but you can’t make up for a lost life,” George stated.
Wittenberg Physical Plant contacted the 740 residents and began reconstruction on their porch later that day.
As of Jan. 21, the driver still hadn’t been taken into custody. Police confirmed they had strong case for a suspect, who is around 23 years old. Officers stated they have video of the man driving the car, and feel confident they will locate him soon. When caught, the driver will be charged with the misdemeanor of unauthorized use of a vehicle.