A 30-minute police chase of a stolen vehicle through Columbus Sunday morning led to two arrests.
A Columbus police officer noticed an SUV that had just been stolen from a rural area of the county at about 5 a.m. Sunday morning near Indiana Avenue and Salzburg Boulevard, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the police department. But when the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver took off.
Harris says the suspect drove the stolen vehicle through several farm fields, plowed through an electrical fence and avoided tire deflation devices before crashing into trees along Clifty Creek near Hartsville.
The suspects then tried to run away through a field. The driver, 30-year-old Jose O. Vera of Columbus swam into the creek and refused to come out until he was apprehended by Columbus police dog Argo. He was treated at Columbus Regional Hospital for a dog bite and hypothermia before being taken to jail. A passenger, 18-year-old Alexis P. Ketchum, was also arrested.
Vera is facing charges of auto theft, resisting law enforcement in a vehicle, resisting law enforcement on foot and driving while suspended with a prior conviction. Ketchum is being accused of auto theft and resisting law enforcement on foot.