Teen girl flees from police, hurt in crash

GALLIPOLIS —A juvenile who Ohio State Highway Patrol officials said failed to pull over for a routine traffic stop crashed her vehicle Saturday morning after a short chase along State Route 160.

According to Sgt. Jake Schuldt, assistant post commander of the Gallia-Meigs Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, troopers initiated a traffic stop at about 3 a.m. Saturday after observing the juvenile driver drifting left of center.

“A trooper followed behind the vehicle on McCormick Road. He decided to initiate the traffic stop because he observed the vehicle go left of center. A juvenile was driving,” Schuldt said.

Schuldt said the juvenile was a younger teenager. She was driving a Pontiac Grand Am. The teenager reportedly did not have permission from vehicle owners to be driving it.

“The driver failed to yield when the trooper initiated his lights,” Schuldt said. “A short pursuit ensued on State Route 160.”

Schuldt said he believes the vehicle struck a billboard just within Gallipolis city limits. The sergeant said the chase was not what he considered to be a high-speed pursuit.

“She was a very inexperienced driver. Top speed was about 60 (mph),” Schuldt said. “She was injured as a result of the crash. She was initially taken to Holzer Medical Center.”

Schuldt then said the juvenile was taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va. He believed the teenager suffered head trauma but was not in serious condition. According to him, the incident happened a matter of “feet” inside city limits. He did not believe that Gallipolis Police Department were involved in the incident.

“Before you come into town (proper), there is a hard curve to the left and a hard curve to the right. That series of “S” curves is (where the crash happened on State Route 160),” Schuldt said.

The officer said he believed the crash was more a result of the inexperience of the driver rather than reckless operation or high speed. The area of the crash is marked as 40 mph zone. Schuldt said he was not surprised that with the girl’s age that the crash would have occurred near the curbs.

Schuldt said the crash is still under investigation. Gallia County prosecutors are being contacted and the “incident will be submitted for review.”

Dean Wright can be reached (74) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright