LIMA — For weeks Allen County has experienced a rash of vehicle thefts.
On Friday, authorities made at least one arrest, but it didn’t come until the suspect led multiple law enforcement agencies on a dangerous 100-mph chase through three counties on Interstate 75.
The half-hour chase ended in a three-vehicle crash with James David Hedrick, 31, of Ada, being transported to the Allen County Jail and charged with theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply.
Hedrick’s capture came after a repair shop owner near Roush and Ada roads noticed Hedrick’s driving off with one of the shop’s vehicles, a white Ford F-150, around 8:17 a.m. The shop owner followed Hedrick until an Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputy was able to locate the vehicle traveling southbound on I-75 near Harding Highway. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, but Hedrick rapidly accelerated. He continued southbound on I-75 at speeds up to 100 mph through Auglaize County and into Shelby County.
Hedrick lost control of the F-150 after hitting the right side of a southbound semi’s trailer and cab. The collision caused one of the semitrailer’s right tires to blow out. The Ford then went off the left side of the roadway and struck the wire cable median, where it came to a stop. Hedrick was arrested and had no apparent injuries. Debris from the collision with the semitrailer hit and shattered the rear windshield of a southbound Jeep Grand Cherokee on I-75.
Officers from seven agencies took part in the chase: the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Wapakoneta and Piqua Posts, police departments in Botkins, Anna and Sidney, and the Shelby and Allen County sheriff’s offices.
The incident remains under investigation by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.