Man leads chase through 3 counties, 2 states

By Dean Wright -

OHIO VALLEY — An Indiana man led area law enforcement on a vehicular chase reportedly reaching over 100 mph Saturday morning across the borders of Ohio, West Virginia and through three counties.

Franklin Housen, 19, of Merrillville, Ind., according to Gallia Sheriff Joe Browning, is awaiting extradition to West Virginia after the Gallia Sheriff’s Office filed paperwork in regards to Housen being reportedly charged as a fleeing fugitive from justice. The office has also sought to charge Housen with receiving stolen property as law enforcement says the vehicle Housen was driving was reported stolen in the Chicago area.

According to Mason County Sheriff Greg Powers, he was told the chase started around Hurricane, W.Va., in Putnam County with a trooper from the West Virginia State Police involved in the pursuit of the defendant. When the pursuit made it into Mason County, deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department then assisted the trooper, following him into Ohio, should the trooper require backup.

Ohio State Highway Patrol charged Housen with reckless operation of a vehicle, driving under suspension of license and not wearing a seat belt, all misdemeanor crimes.

OSHP received calls from Mason law enforcement that cruisers were in pursuit of Housen. Ohio troopers became involved when Housen reached S.R. 850 in Gallia County and started traveling northbound off of U.S. 35.

“When the suspect saw our vehicle, he did a U-turn and started heading south back towards Rodney,” said Lt. Barry Call, of OSHP. “He was then involved in an accident. At the high rate of speed he was traveling — on 850 you’ve got those bumpy hills — he became airborne. It was our understanding, the vehicle then bottomed-out on the roadway and basically rendered the car inoperable. I think it busted the radiator out and damaged the oil pan. (Housen) went a short distance and pulled off into a private drive and fled on foot.”

Call said that OSHP’s Sgt. Jake Schuldt and Trooper Marvin Pullins took Housen into custody after Housen was spotted just off of Jackson Pike in a wooded area. Officers gave Housen verbal commands and took him into custody without incident.

Housen is currently being housed in the Gallia County Jail.

Why the encounter between Housen and West Virginia State Police initially occurred has yet to be confirmed with West Virginia State Police, Call surmised it likely had to do with identification of a reportedly stolen vehicle.

In relation to any possible, pending charges against Housen in Mason County, Powers said the case remains under investigation and his department will be working to assist the West Virginia State Police which is leading the investigation in the Mountain State.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103. (Editor’s Note: Beth Sergent contributed to this report.)

By Dean Wright