Monthly Archives: January 2017

Columbus chase ends with crash near Hartsville

Jose O. Vera. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.
Jose O. Vera. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

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.

Alexis Ketchum. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.
Alexis Ketchum. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

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.

Fake shooting report leads to gas station arrest

Joshua Stam. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department
Joshua Stam. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

A Columbus man is being accused of calling in a fake report of a shooting at a gas station and then fighting with police.

Just before 1  a.m. Sunday morning, dispatchers received a call reporting several people were shot at a gas station on Central Avenue. Officers didn’t see anything amiss and when they entered the store they found 26-year-old Joshua B. Stam holding a phone, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus police.

When officers asked about the phone call, he allegedly pulled his hand from his pocket and a large hunting knife fell out. Officers attempted to detain Stam, Harris says, but the man struggled, including saying they were fake police, pulling off an officer’s radio and body cam, hitting an officer in the head and attempting to bite the police.

Officer, subdued Stam with a Taser. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out and then arrested on charges including false reporting, resisting law enforcement, battery on a law enforcement officer, public intoxication and possession of a legend drug injection device.

Seymour man arrested on drug-trafficking charge

Seymour police are accusing a man of drug trafficking after a traffic stop early Sunday morning.

The police report that they stopped a vehicle at just after midnight on East Tipton Street after seeing several traffic infractions. The officer suspected the driver was involved in drugs and Seymour’s police dog Ace alerted to the smell of drugs in the vehicle.

A search allegedly revealed more than 86 grams of meth, marijuana, syringes, drug paraphernalia and about $2,000 in cash.

29-year-old Kevin J. Alcorn of Seymour was arrested on charges of:

  • Dealing in Methamphetamine
  • Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Possession of a Hypodermic Syringe
  • Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Maintaining a Common Nuisance.

Columbus landmark facing high-priced restoration

First Christian Church was the first of Columbus’ modern architectural marvels when it was built 75 years ago. The church is spending about $200,000 in maintenance each year, but a recent report shows that those efforts are not enough to meet the needs of the aging building.

A new group called Friends of First Christian Church Architecture is working to raise $160,000 to fix a skylight and window in the church sanctuary. But that is just the start. Church Elder Steve Wiggins talks about the structural needs the church has and how the cost is putting some iconic features in jeopardy including the clock tower.

Wiggins said that if money can’t be raised, the chuch has to prioritize which repairs are essential to the ministry and which are just extras.

Wiggins said the hope is to restore the building to its original state.

The fundraising for the Friends group is being organized through Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. You can look for more information on the Heritage Fund website at

Brownstown woman dies in Sunday crash

Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police
Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police

A Brownstown woman died yesterday in a crash on Interstate 65 in Jackson County.

The Indiana State Police say that 47-year-old Kimberly Sneed was merging onto the interstate north of Seymour at the Jonesville State Road 11 exit at about 12:10 p.m.  in the afternoon when she lost control of the vehicle, which spun and was then struck head-on by another car.

She was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital where she later died, according to police reports.

The couple in the oncoming car, 72-year-old Anthony Bonadonna and his wife, 56-year-old, Diana, both of Arlington Heights, Ill. were severely injured. They were taken first to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour and then to an Indianapolis.

The northbound lanes of the interstate were closed for about two hours, Indiana State Police report.

INDOT announces I-65 restrictions near Franklin

The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to close right and center lanes of southbound Interstate 65 approaching State Road 44’s overpass at the Franklin exit in Johnson County on Tuesday. INDOT says that a contractor will install an asphalt wedge to improve the pavement transition at the bridge approach near mile marker 90.0. The work is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., weather permitting.

Officials say that southbound I-65’s left lane will remain open to traffic, though the speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph. They anticipate opening the center lane as soon as work there has been completed. INDOT expects that all southbound I-65 lanes should be open to traffic by 3 p.m. the same day.

Police release identities of shooting victim, suspect

Two people are dead after a shooting incident Thursday night in downtown Columbus. The incident happened at around 9 p.m.  when police were called to the 1500 block of Lafayette Avenue on a report of shots fired, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

Harris says that when officers arrived on the scene, they found 43-year 43-year-old Kelly R. Baker, of Columbus, outside of the home suffering from multiple gunshots. She was taken to Columbus Regional Health before being flown to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in critical condition. Baker later succumbed to her injuries.

A suspect, 44-year-old Brian F. Mitchell, of Columbus, holed up in a house on Lafayette Avenue. Harris says the SWAT team was called in and spent several hours trying to get Mitchell to come out of the house. At about 2 a.m., The SWAT team, flanked by an explosives robot, entered the house and found Mitchell’s body in a bedroom.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

Police have not given additional information on the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Columbus adds new website with train information

The city of Columbus has launched a new website to keep the public informed about the increasing train traffic through the city.

The Louisville and Indiana tracks that run through the city are in the process of being upgraded, including a new bridge over Flat Rock River within the next year. All of that will mean that CSX Railroad will be able to run more trains on the tracks — more than 20 a day. And those trains will be longer than ever before.

The city is looking at several options to try to relieve the city of the problems all those trains will cause. Several of those efforts are meant to address the effects on traffic, but the city is also looking to reduce the noise of the trains.

To keep the public updated on those efforts, the city contracted with TD Advertising to design a new web page focused just on the train issue. You can see the new site now with a link off of or you can go directly to

Two dead in downtown Columbus shooting

Two people are dead after a shooting incident last night in downtown Columbus.

The incident happened at around 9 last night when police were called to the 1500 block of Lafayette Avenue on a report of shots fired, says Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the police department.

A woman was found shot multiple times and taken by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital in critical condition. She later died.

A suspect was holed up in a house in that area and the SWAT team was called in. At about 2 a.m. this morning police sent the SWAT team and a robot into the house and found the man dead, Harris said.

There’s no word yet on the identities of those involved or the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Authorities warn of slick roads this morning

Emergency officials are warning that roads are slick out there this morning.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department was backed up with slide-off accidents across the county as of about 8 a.m.  Areas that are especially treacherous are overpasses and bridges. There was a major traffic tieup on the Southern Crossing bridge earlier this morning on Bartholomew County Road 450S. Listeners are reporting a lot of black ice out there, especially on U.S. 31 between Columbus and Seymour.

Authorities are asking that you slow down use extra caution during your morning commute.