A local driver in a stolen sport utility vehicle was rescued from the Flatrock River by Columbus police after a pursuit.

At 11:53 p.m. Wednesday, Columbus Police Officers Travis Harbaugh and Chad Lehman saw a white Ford Expedition traveling near 11th Street near Jackson Street and identified it as a vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier in the day, said Lt Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

When officers attempted to stop it, the driver sped up while traveling west on Tellman Road. The vehicle went off the road into a wooded area and the driver left the vehicle and fled on foot, Harris said.

Jerry Hounshell
Jerry Hounshell

With the assistance of police K9s, the driver, later identified as Jerry W. Hounshell, 36, Columbus, was found. As officers got closer, they could hear him yelling for help. A short time later, they saw Hounshell holding on to a log in the middle of the Flatrock River, Harris said.

Officers asked the Bartholomew County Water Rescue Team to bring its airboat to rescue Hounshell because the area was not reachable on foot.

Hounshell was rescued and taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment of hypothermia. He was arrested on charges of auto theft, resisting law enforcement in a vehicle, resisting law enforcement on foot and a warrant for failure to comply with a court order, Harris said.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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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.