UPDATE: Speeds reached in excess of 100 mph during morning chase of suspect

Two Meigs County Sheriff’s cruisers damaged during pursuit

POMEROY, Ohio – Speeds reportedly reached in excess of 100 miles per hour during a pursuit that ended with multiple law enforcement agencies boxing the suspect in at Eastern High School according to Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood.

Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has released more details following the high speed pursuit and crash at Eastern Local High School this morning. Sheriff Wood says a man who fled from officers in Athens County, Washington County, Ohio State Patrol, Wood County Sheriff’s Department, Parkersburg Police and the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office remains in custody at the Meigs County Jail.

Sheriff Wood reports that Jason Austin, 34, of Lancaster, Ohio was taken into custody at the Eastern High School parking lot after he crashed the vehicle he was driving into a fence. Sheriff Wood states that his office learned of the pursuit at around 7:30 a.m. this morning when his office was contacted by the Wood County 911 center in Parkersburg that officers were in pursuit and were coming into Meigs County. Information received was that the suspect had just stolen a vehicle in Parkersburg, West Virginia and was fleeing south on State Route 7.

Deputies picked up the pursuit on State Route 7 and pursued the vehicle, with assistance from the Ohio State Patrol, Parkersburg Police and Wood County Sheriff’s Department south on State Route 7, then onto US 33 westbound towards Athens. Speeds reached over a hundred miles an hour. Austin reached the Athens County line at Rainbow Lake road before turning around and continuing east bound on US 33. Austin then turned east on State Route 681 where he avoided multiple attempts to stop him using Stop Sticks. Austin continued into Tuppers Plains where he turned onto a side street and drove through some yards, causing damage before avoiding Stop Sticks again and heading south on State Route 7.

Deputies set up below Eastern High School and the school was contacted and requested to lock down as a precautionary measure. Austin turned into the parking lot of Eastern High School and crashed into a fence at which time he was immediately taken into custody by officers.

Sheriff Wood reports that two sheriff’s cruisers received damage during the pursuit.

Austin, who has a lengthy criminal record, is wanted by Lancaster Police Department in Fairfield County, Ohio for a Robbery charge and an Adult Parole Authority warrant. Austin was considered armed and dangerous and has a history of violent tendencies as well as resisting arrests and escape risks.

Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley is being contacted for recommendations for charges in Meigs County. Possible charges could be Receiving Stolen Property, Felony Fleeing and Eluding as well as Inducing Panic.

Austin is being held for Lancaster Police pending extradition to Fairfield County to answer his charges in that jurisdiction.

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