How a Columbus man caught a suspect and what he said to him

When a construction worker throwing drywall in a trash receptacle saw a man running from Columbus police, he said he didn’t have to think before acting.

“I just sprinted off right after him, said Josh Isaacs, a 28-year-old Columbus resident who is being credited with catching the suspect and taking him to the ground.

The incident happened about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when Columbus police officer Travis Harbaugh saw Derek B. Woodson, 37, 5213 Lamplight Drive, near the intersection of 25th Street and U.S. 31 and attempted to stop Woodson on a warrant for his arrest, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

Woodson took off on foot, and Harbaugh yelled for him to stop, which is where Isaacs entered the picture.

Hired as a temporary construction worker on a Burger King renovation at the intersection, Isaacs said he heard Harbaugh yell at Woodson to stop and saw that the police officer was about 40 yards behind. Isaacs went after Woodson and caught him after about 10 yards, both landing on concrete, Isaacs said.

Isaacs took both of Woodson’s hands and put them behind his back and put his knee in Woodson’s back to keep him on the ground, he said.

“I told him (Woodson), ‘You don’t run from the police, you are just adding charges to yourself,’” Isaacs said.

Woodson was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting law enforcement and a Bartholomew County warrant, Harris said.

Several Columbus police officers arrived to assist Harbaugh and shook Isaacs’ hand and thanked him for his assistance. He has also received messages of gratitude on Facebook about the incident.

Isaacs, who lives with his girlfriend, Zipporah Stewart, and his 5-month-old son, Carson, described himself normally as a protective person but really didn’t stop to think about what to do when he saw the man running from police.

He said his main concern was that Woodson was heading toward a nearby parking lot where he may have tried to hurt someone or take a car.

The Dayton, Ohio, native said he had once hoped to be a police officer or in the military, but medical issues don’t allow him to qualify.

In the meantime, he said he will continue working through Spartan Staffing in Columbus, hoping to land a permanent job.

Harris said the department is grateful to Isaacs for helping Harbaugh but cautioned that the department does not advocate civilians putting themselves in harm’s way.

But he also said that Isaacs’ quick actions and willingness to assist made a difference in the Wednesday arrest.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.