Created on Monday, 04 March 2013 Written by JOEL E. MAST
A local teen, who drove nearly 15 miles at speeds as high as 80 mph on flattened tires early Saturday, told authorities he was “scared” and kept driving rather than pulling to the side of the road.
Hunter Swingley, 14, of rural Bellefontaine, faces delinquency charges of reckless operation, assault with a motor vehicle, criminal damaging, failure to comply with an order of a peace officer and no operator’s license, according to the incident report filed with the Logan County Family Courts.
Around 12:45 a.m., a trooper of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded the teen driving his grandmother’s 2002 Dodge Caravan southbound around 53 mph in a 35 mph zone on Main Street near Malone Avenue.
The trooper turned on the van and activated first his lights and then his siren. The teen ignored both signals and sped off, reaching 100 mph.
Two other troopers were on a traffic stop south of Bellefontaine and deployed tire deflating devices.
The van hit the devices and the front tires deflated.
Hunter slowed slightly to around 80 mph, but continued southbound, passed multiple vehicles and drove into oncoming traffic.
At West Liberty, police there also deployed tire deflation devices, but were unable to affect the rear tires.
Hunter continued to drive on at speeds of 70 to 80 mph on the front rims of the van.
The chase came to an end when the van traveled into a front lawn of the Urbana Municipal Airport’s Grimes Field, at the north edge of the city. Hunter attempted to turn back northbound, but ran into a West Liberty police cruiser.
He exited the van and ran westbound, but was tackled by the West Liberty officers.
He was lodged in the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center.
Another 14-year-old in the van told officers the boys took the keys from Hunter’s grandmother and drove from her Bellefontaine residence without her permission.
The other boy was not charged by troopers and he was released to his parents.
Other departments assisting troopers were Bellefontaine Police Department, Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.