Deputies chase man into Van Buren County
STOCKPORT – Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies engaged in a 22-minute car chase early Sunday morning before apprehending the target of their pursuit.
Austin Wayne Countryman, 20, of Hillsboro, was arrested at 1:47 a.m. Sunday in Stockport for eluding law enforcement vehicles, among other charges.
Bart Richmond, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy, said the chase began at 1:25 that morning when a Jefferson County officer attempted to make a traffic stop on Countryman’s vehicle.
Countryman refused to pull over and instead led law enforcement on a chase into Van Buren County, whereupon Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies and reserve deputies assisted in the pursuit. Richmond said at least four vehicles were involved in the operation.
Richmond said Countryman traveled on paved roads as well as gravel and even dirt roads. He said both Countryman’s truck and a squad car were damaged when they ran over a tree that had fallen on a dirt road in Van Buren County.
One of Van Buren County’s squad cars also blew an engine during the incident, although Richmond said he did not think it was related to a collision.
“I think it just stopped running,” Richmond said.
Richmond said he wasn’t sure how or why Countryman’s vehicle stopped. He said it might have been due to a mechanical failure. He said it was not because the vehicle got stuck in the mud, although he did say the dirt roads were slick and somewhat muddy.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has spike strips, also known as stop sticks, to stop a vehicle by disabling its tires. Richmond said a spike strip was deployed during the chase although it did not affect Countryman’s vehicle. He said Countryman might have driven around it.
Apart from being charged with eluding law enforcement, Countryman was also charged with operating while intoxicated, first offense, an equipment violation, possession of alcohol under the legal age and excessive speed.