Drug arrests result from traffic stop

Columbus police have arrested four people after a short vehicle pursuit that began at Ninth and Chestnut streets.

Columbus police officer Luke Nibarger attempted to stop a truck for a minor traffic violation at the intersection, but the driver accelerated as it continued east on 10th Street toward Central Avenue at about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

The vehicle then stopped in the roadway near Werner Avenue, where Nibarger did a high-risk traffic stop and placed all of the occupants in handcuffs, Harris said.

The driver, Tyler S. Houchens, 21, of 1540 Tannehill Road, Taylorsville, told police he had a warrant for his arrest and that a glass pipe with drug residue inside the vehicle was his, Harris said.

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Officers also spoke to Courtney P. Bullington, 27, of 924 Chestnut St., a passenger, who confirmed she had two local warrants for her arrest, Harris said.

Whitney K. Watkins, 30, of 1028 Phoenix Court, and Charles R. Barr Jr., 38, of 1165 N. Gladstone Ave., also passengers, were arrested after additional narcotics were found inside the vehicle, Harris said.

Houchens was arrested on charges of resisting law enforcement in a vehicle, a Bartholomew County warrant, operating a vehicle without a license, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a syringe and visiting a common nuisance, Harris said.

Bullington was arrested on charges of two Bartholomew County warrants and visiting a common nuisance, and Barr was arrested on charges of maintaining a common nuisance and possession of a syringe, Harris said.

Watkins was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and visiting a common nuisance, Harris said. She was released from jail under the Bartholomew County Probation Department’s protocol allowing inmates to be released without bond. Her bond was set at $7,000, jail officials said.

Houchens is being held in jail in lieu of $81,000 bond, jail officials said. Bullington is being held without bond in jail, and Barr is being held in jail in lieu of $15,000 bond, 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.