Man caught after chase; suspect subdued with stun gun following wreck

Columbus police arrested a Portage man after he led officers on a vehicle pursuit that was terminated by police for safety reasons. The suspect was later found, however, when his vehicle was involved in a serious accident in downtown Columbus.

Columbus police assisted the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department in a pursuit of a Nissan car traveling south on U.S. 31 at 7:06 a.m. Saturday, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

The driver, later identified as Gerardo Hurtado, 49, of Portage, turned around at 10th Street in Columbus and went north on U.S. 31. The pursuit continued to the city limits on U.S. 31 at speeds up to 90 mph, but was ended by law enforcement officers for safety reasons as the suspect approached Interstate 65, Harris said.

At 7:40 a.m., police were called to an accident at Third and Lindsey streets where officers noted one of the vehicles, a gray Nissan, was the vehicle they had been pursuing on U.S. 31, Harris said. The driver of the Ford Taurus the Nissan collided with was unresponsive and had to be extricated by Columbus firefighters, police said.

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Witnesses told police that prior to the accident, Hurtado was driving at a high rate of speed and disregarded the red traffic signal in the intersection, striking the other vehicle, Harris said.

Hurtado was uncooperative and refused to leave his vehicle, Harris said. Officers broke one of the car’s windows to unlock the doors and used a stun gun to subdue him when he would not get out of the vehicle, Harris said. After being removed from the vehicle, Hurtado struggled and spit at officers, Harris said.

Hurtado was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital to be medically cleared and then taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on a 72-hour hold on charges of:

  • Criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury
  • Battery by bodily waste on a law enforcement officer
  • Resisting law enforcement with a vehicle
  • Resisting law enforcement

He is being held without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail, jail officials said.

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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.