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Three-County Pursuit Leads To Meigs Co. Arrest

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A pursuit that sped through three counties ended in the Eastern High School parking lot early Wednesday morning.

Jason Austin, 34, was arrested after he crashed a vehicle he allegedly stole in Parkersburg, West Virginia, into a fence at the high school, according to a release by the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.

Meigs County deputies were notified of the pursuit at about 7:30 a.m. after Wood County authorities said the pursuit was coming into Meigs.

Investigators received information that the suspect had just stolen a vehicle and was fleeing south on State Route 7.

Meigs County deputies joined the pursuit, along with troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Parkersburg Police south on route 7 and onto U.S. Route 33 westbound toward Athens County.

“Speeds reached over a hundred miles an hour,” the sheriff’s office release stated.

When Austin reached the Athens County line, he turned around, heading eastbound on 33 before turning east onto State Route 681. Several attempts were made to stop the vehicle with Stop Sticks, but Austin avoided them, continuing to Tuppers Plains and driving through residential yards.

Eastern High School was locked down as a “precautionary measure,” the release stated. The pursuit ended when Austin crashed into a fence “at which time he was immediately taken into custody by officers,” according to the release.

Austin had a warrant from the Lancaster Police Department for robbery and a parole violation.

“Austin was considered armed and dangerous and has a history of violent tendencies as well as resisting arrests and escape risks,” the release stated.

The man appeared in Meigs County Court on Wednesday and denied waiver of extradition to Fairfield County, which means another hearing will be held on March 23 in Meigs County. He is being held on $500,000 with no 10 percent allowed, according to the court clerk’s office.

Possible Meigs County charges could include receiving stolen property, felony fleeing and eluding, and inducing panic.

Two Meigs County sheriff’s cruisers were damaged during the pursuit, but no injuries were reported.