Two arrested after police chase a 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 beyond the Columbus city limits, 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, Harris said. The driver, later identified as Jose O. Vera, 30, 3030 Wedgewood Drive, 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.

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The vehicle’s other occupant, Alexis P. Ketchum, 18, 1370 Heights Court, and Vera then left the vehicle and began running across a field, Harris said.

Ketchum was caught a short time later, Harris said. Vera, who was in Clifty Creek, was found by K-9 Argo and his handler, Branch Schrader, Harris said.

Vera was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for a dog bite and possible hypothermia, Harris said.

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.

Each is being held without bond at the Bartholomew County Jail, officials said.

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