COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Police say the driver of a red SUV was being chased by another car moments before slamming into a utility truck.
According to Columbus police, it happened shortly before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Moler Street between South High Street and City Park Avenue.
The SUV driver, 19-year-old Ryan Parsley was taken to Grant Medical Center in life-threatening condition. He is in critical condition as of Wednesday evening.
Police confirmed he was trying to drive away from Highland Security and Investigations, a private independent contractor employed to recover Parsley, who had forfeited bond of one or more felony criminal cases in Franklin County.
According to police on the scene, it appears that the driver of the SUV hit the side of the utility truck while being chased by a second car.
The second car was not a police car, according to police.
Several witnesses say two black SUVs with flashing lights were chasing a red SUV down City Park Avenue.
“I didn’t know if they were police or not, but they did have those vests and there little belts with the guns and mace on the side. It looked a little different,” witness Elizabeth Ard said.
Ard said the men looked like bail agents, also known as bounty hunters. She said they had black bulletproof vests, but no clear identification.
Woody Fox is a license bail agent in downtown Columbus. He said all his agents wear marked bulletproof vests and badges.
“If we are out there with a bulletproof vest unmarked and we are after someone and a policeman shows up, they don’t know who we are,” Fox said. “We want it marked so everyone knows who we are, including the police.”
Fox also said bail agents usually notify local police before they pick someone up. He also said they would stick around and talk to police if something they were doing led to an accident.
Witnesses tell police before the crash, the driver of the SUV threw a gun out the window and into Schiller Park. That gun was recovered by police.
Police say the other car left the scene before police arrived.