WAPAKONETA — The driver of a van that led law enforcement on a high-speed chase Tuesday through Allen and Auglaize counties has been charged with fleeing and eluding an officer and receiving stolen property, felonies of the third- and fourth-degree, respectively.
Benjamin Wiedenhoeft, 30, of Fort Wayne, was formally booked into the Auglaize County jail on Wednesday after an appearance in Auglaize County Municipal Court. He also has outstanding warrants in DeKalb County, Indiana, for failure to appear and theft and in Allen County, Indiana, for a probation violation and the possession of methamphetamines.
At approximately 12:19 p.m., deputies from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a vehicle on Interstate 75 just south of Lima on a stolen vehicle complaint. The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed into Auglaize County. The chase went along U.S. 33 before ending near Short Road and Dixie Highway around 1:30 p.m. and a man and woman were taken into custody.
According to a statement released by Vorhees Thursday morning, once the pursuit crossed into Auglaize County, several area law enforcement agency joined in. The pursuit went through numerous areas of Auglaize County and several properties were damaged by the suspect’s vehicle. Further damage was done to highway fences, winter wheat fields and some sheriff’s cruisers.
Wiedenhoeft threatened to shoot police and the other occupant in the vehicle if police did not back off, Vorhees said. The pursuit continued and stop sticks were deployed by multiple agencies, at different locations during the pursuit.
The suspect vehicle came to a stop in a field just south of Wapakoneta. He fled on foot for a short distance but was located and placed into custody. A 25-year-old female from Angola, Indiana, also fled on foot but was later located and detained. She has not been charged.
Assisting in the pursuit was the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, Wapakoneta Police Department, Waynesfield Police Department, Cridersville Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Wapakoneta Fire and EMS.