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I-70 Crash in Belmont County Leads to Pursuit, Standoff in Zanesville

A crash in Belmont County led to a chase Sunday that ended in a standoff with law enforcement and a man being arrested and hospitalized.

“The chase didn’t start in Belmont County, the incident itself started there. The person that was chased, he was involved in a hit-skip crash at the (Interstate 70) 216 milepost in Belmont County, and then he was located in Guernsey County at milepost 184,” Sgt. Scott Bayless of the Cambridge post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The driver reportedly refused to stop and continued into Muskingum County. Bayless said the pursuit ended at the 155 mile marker, roughly 30 miles west, and involved top speeds of 70-85 mph.

“Subsequently spike strips were deployed and he came to a stop at the Underwood exit in Zanesville on the ramp,” Bayless said, but he noted incident was not over yet. “He refused to exit the vehicle, and approximately two hours later the situation was neutralized and he was removed from the vehicle without injury or incident.”

Bayless said the post had no information on what might have precipitated the chase.

“He was taken to the hospital and has not been able to be contacted yet or interviewed. Right now that’s all still under investigation,” Bayless said. “No weapons were located on him or in the vehicle. No force was used, other than the stop strips.

“He hasn’t been officially charged, so I can’t release (his name),” Bayless said. “I don’t know what his current address is, but he did have Pennsylvania plates and I believe was from Pennsylvania, but he has several different addresses listed.”

Bayless said the man likely will face misdemeanor charges for the crash in Belmont County, felony fleeing and eluding in Guernsey County, and inducing panic in Muskingum County and the city of Zanesville.

“He was just on I-70, but he entered the city where he got off the ramp as his tires were deflating,” Bayless said. “The pursuit was kind of smooth, traffic was cooperative. The only thing that we had to close down was some of the city streets to make sure no one got in front of us in the crossfire for safety purposes.”

He said the Zanesville police and fire departments and the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office assisted. Crisis negotiators also participated.

Staff at the St. Clairsville post of the highway patrol said they had no information. Chief Deputy James Zusack of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a call seeking further information.

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