Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 23, 2018

Sheriff deputies chase suspect into Ottumwa

Law enforcement calls off chase in city, later recover vehicle
By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Oct 17, 2017

A high-speed chase that began in Jefferson County Sunday night, and was later called off by authorities in Wapello County, has Ottumwa police investigating a discovered vehicle.

“The vehicle was recovered the next day,” said Lt. Jason Bell of the Ottumwa Police Department. “It was recovered in Ottumwa, but we’re not releasing too much information until we figure out who it was that was driving it during the chase. The investigation is going on now.”

The chase started Sunday night, when a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop a Pontiac sedan without license plates that ran a stop sign on South Main Street.

“The deputy was watching the stop sign at the [Highway 34] off ramp at exit 212,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton, explaining that the area is a regular spot where drivers don’t observed the stop sign. “He ran the stop sign, and he didn’t have any [license] plates. The driver pulled into Casey’s [General Store], and the chase initiated. He got back up on Highway 34,” Morton said.

Morton said that there were initially two Jefferson County deputies involved in the chase, but one of them pulled back upon entering Ottumwa.

“[Iowa] State Troopers were also involved in the chase,” Morton said. “In a situation like that, sure there are jurisdictions as far as filing charges, but we are all state of Iowa certified peace officers. There were two troopers and our deputy. There was another Jefferson County deputy, but he didn’t go into Ottumwa.”

Ottumwa police waited on the subject with tire deflation devices, but they were unsuccessful.

“The vehicle continued into the city limits; and the pursuit was called off because he drove into residential neighborhoods,” Bell said.

Morton said that due to the dangerous nature of chases, he was glad that it was called off once it reached Ottumwa.

“I thought it was good on their part to call it off,” he said. “It shows that they care, and value human life over catching a person. We have a policy that is dependent on the offenses that were committed,” Morton said. “Also, it depends on the area that the chase is going into, and if there are innocent people around or innocent people inside the vehicle who can’t get out.”

Morton said that authorities had nothing to go on as far as any other crimes committed by the driver. Additionally, the driver was not identified and there weren’t any tags.

“Our involvement in the chase was minimal,” Bell said. “The pursuit did not fit our policy guidelines.”

Although the driver got away Sunday, Bell said that police would continue to investigate the incidents, and search out clues from the recovered vehicle.

“It’s a Pontiac Grand Prix. It was spray painted, so it’s not one complete color,” Bell said. “It’s not registered to anyone in this area.”

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