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Driver corralled after crash, then chase

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A Bartholomew County man on probation was the subject of a short pursuit through Columbus following a crash that injured five children in his vehicle, police said.

Andy J. Hounshell, 30, is being held on arrest charges of resisting law enforcement and neglect of a dependent, both Class D felonies.

Hounshell, 1420 Tellman Road, also has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a Class A misdemeanor.

The chain of events began near the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds with a 4:30 p.m. Wednesday crash on State Road 11 near Speer Street, Columbus Police Department spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

Moments after Travis M. Mouser, 29, of County Road 550S, stopped his minivan behind a car making a left-hand turn into a driveway, he saw a black sport utility vehicle in his rear-view mirror coming up behind him at a high rate of speed, Myers said.

Mouser attempted to veer his vehicle out of the way, but the speeding Dodge Durango crashed into the rear of his vehicle, causing Mouser’s minivan to spin and strike a utility pole.

The driver responsible for the crash fled north.

Another driver began following the SUV and used his cellphone to provide police with detailed descriptions of both the driver and his vehicle, Myers said.

Near Second and Brown streets, Police Chief Jason Maddix saw the damaged SUV, leaking steam from the radiator, coming across the Robert N. Stewart Bridge just seconds after hearing the vehicle description, Myers said.

Along with other officers, Maddix followed the driver eight blocks north on Brown at speeds reaching more than 55 miles per hour to the roundabout near Mill Race Center, where the SUV lost power and came to a stop near Indianapolis Road, according to the chief’s report.

Since Maddix was not sure what prompted the driver to try to escape in a reckless manner, all officers had their weapons drawn when they took Hounshell into custody, Myers said.

Investigators checked on Houshell’s passengers and found five unrestrained children in the back seats — ranging in age from 3 to 17. All were injured in some way.

A front-seat adult passenger was bleeding from her head, but injuries to Tiffany Swank, 36, of Jonesville, were not considered life-threatening, Myers said.

The backseat passengers were all believed to be the children of the two adults, he said.

Swank said Hounshell exclaimed after the Garden City accident that he was not going to go back to jail, Myers said.

Although Hounshell denied seeing the police lights and hearing the sirens behind him on Brown Street, Swank maintained the driver was fully aware he was being pursued and seemed intent on reaching his parents’ home, located a half-mile northwest of the roundabout, Myers said.

Hounshell, who described his own actions as “driving stupid,” later said he wanted to avoid capture because he no longer has a driver’s license, Myers said.

When taken into custody, Hounshell was wearing an ankle bracelet installed after he was placed on probation on a previous conviction of resisting law enforcement, he said.

Although bail on the arrest charges was established at $30,000 surety or $3,000 cash, Hounshell has been ordered to be held without bond due to probation violations, a jail spokeswoman said.

Under Indiana law, a conviction based on the preliminary charges would carry a sentence of one to seven years, as well as fines of up to $25,000.

Formal charges, if any, will be determined by the office of Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash.

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