WILMINGTON — A man trying to escape local law enforcement while under the cover of night was located by an infrared camera system on a helicopter and soon after he was inside a jail cell.
Wilmington Police Officer Wisecup was alerted Wednesday night there was a man who appeared to be unconscious at the wheel of a parked car near Duke & Duchess on Rombach Avenue in Wilmington. When Wisecup arrived and 39-year-old Kenneth A. Price gained consciousness, alleged criminal activity was discovered, according to WPD Chief Ron Cravens.
Price reportedly did not comply with the commands of Officer Wisecup, and instead took off in the vehicle, driving from Rombach to Progress Way and then Airborne Road. Cravens said Price drove at speeds over 90 mph, and when he got to the Airborne Road and State Route 73 bypass juncture, he turned and went the wrong way on the bypass.
In an apparent effort to correct his direction of travel, Price drove his vehicle through the median, which seems to have caused him to lose control with the car coming to a stop by a retention pond along the bypass near U.S. 22 and S.R. 3, the chief said.
Deputies from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office as well as Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) troopers assisted, and the OSHP called in a helicopter.
The infrared camera on board the helicopter detected the suspect, enabling law enforcement personnel to apprehend Price who, said Cravens, was found crawling out of the retention pond and trying to roll down a hill to escape officers.
The technology on the OSHP helicopter was able to pinpoint the suspect’s location, noted the chief.
After apprehension, Price was transported to the hospital where he was cleared for incarceration, Cravens said.
The suspect was charged with felony failure to comply with the lawful order or signal of a police officer, according to the chief. The charge was elevated to the felony level, said Cravens, due to the driver’s egregious and reckless behavior during the pursuit such as going the wrong way and operating the vehicle at high speeds.
During the pursuit, Price allegedly threw something out of the vehicle, which was recovered. While it has been sent off for analysis, based on the work experience of officers it appears to be more than 20 grams of methamphetamine, according to Cravens.
It’s about the size of a squash ball, he said.
Law enforcement personnel suspect that Price was driving impaired, said the chief.
The incident occurred about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2. Sabina police also assisted.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.