Man arrested after high speed chase with 5-year-old in back seat

Rick Reitzel/WCMH photo

FRANKLIN TWP., OH (WCMH) — A suspect driving between 80 and 100 mph towards the end of Friday morning’s rush hour led four law enforcement agencies on a 20-minute police pursuit with his child in the vehicle.

The chase started in Franklin Township around 8:46am at the intersection of 62 and Humphrey Avenue after a police officer tried to pull over the driver for a license plate violation. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect, 31-year-old James Frances Hunt, is believed to have left a drug house.

Franklin Township Police said the driver’s 5-year-old boy was in the car as he sped away. The vehicle can be seen on Columbus’ traffic cameras, serving in and out of traffic driving erratically. Then Franklin County Sheriff’s Office officials begin pursuing the car, and it can be seen going the wrong way on I-270 trying to lose police pursuit.

“The suspect must have done a U-turn on the freeway and came back the same direction, at that point just for the general safety the officers (we) called off the chase,” said Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith.

Police said they alerted oncoming traffic and ran parallel with the suspect, until the pursuit was stopped at East Broad Street. Chief Smith said shortly after, the suspect’s car  was cornered at a housing complex on Noe Bixby Road and the suspect ran.

“The suspect fled into a field and was apprehended,” Chief Smith said, adding that the suspect fled holding his son.

When the boy’s mother picked him up in the parking lot behind Temple Israel, Hunt became agitated and began banging his feet against the cruiser window and cursing.

In all, four law enforcement agencies joined in the high speed chase.

According to authorities, no one was injured in the chase. Franklin Township police charged Hunt with felony fleeing and felony child endangering. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says he has been charged with felonious assault of an officer and failure to comply with an officer’s order or signal.

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