Two arrested after pursuit of stolen vehicle

Columbus police arrested two people on multiple charges after they were accused of leading law enforcement on a half hour chase in a stolen vehicle.

At about 5 a.m. Sunday, Columbus Police Officer Travis Harbaugh was near Indiana Avenue and Salzburg Boulevard when he saw a vehicle that had just been reported stolen in Bartholomew County, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

When Harbaugh attempted to stop the black GMC Envoy, the driver sped off and officers pursued the vehicle out of Columbus into the county, where officers attempted to use tire deflation devices, but were unable to due to the high chase speeds, Harris said.

During the pursuit, the Envoy went through several farm fields to avoid officers, Harris said. The driver eventually ran over an electric fence in a field, before heading down an embankment and crashing into several trees along Clifty Creek in the 19000 block of County Road 410N near Hartsville, Harris said.

The vehicle’s occupants, Alexis P. Ketchum, 18, Columbus, and Jose O. Vera, 30, Columbus, then left the vehicle and began running across a field, Harris said.

Alexis Ketchum
Alexis Ketchum

Ketchum was caught a short time later and Vera, the driver, was found by K-9 Argo and his handler, Branch Schrader, Harris said. Vera was found hiding in Clifty Creek and refused to come out of the water.

Vera was arrested on charges of auto theft, resisting law enforcement in a vehicle, resisting law enforcement on foot and driving while suspended with a prior conviction, Harris said.

Ketchum was arrested on charges of auto theft and resisting law enforcement on foot, Harris said.

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