WEST CARROLLTON — New 9-1-1 calls obtained by News Center 7 on Wednesday better explain the concerns drivers had about a semi police and state troopers chased Saturday and finally stopped in Cincinnati.
Some of those drivers called from the highway going through West Carrollton.
The first 9-1-1 call that reported Patrick Berthelot’s semi driving erratically on I-75 came from a man who said he was one mile south of the East Dixie Drive Exit on the southbound side of the interstate.
“This guy’s gonna kill somebody,” the caller told a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center. “He is driving like an absolute idiot.”
The caller described the semi to the dispatcher and then relayed some of the reckless driving he was witnessing. “About a mile ago he was literally driving in the median,” the man said. “A second ago he was just driving on the shoulder. On the right side.”
That man stayed on the phone with Montgomery County regional dispatch for 12 minutes and hung up after the dispatcher said they were sending law enforcement officers to the area.
After hanging up, the man called 9-1-1 again “about three minutes” later by his own guess in a second call that was picked up by an Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatcher at the patrol’s Lebanon post in Warren County.
A this point, that 9-1-1 caller said he was farther south on I-75, right between the exits for state Route 72 in Springboro and state Route 123 in Franklin.
“He’s still driving like a fool,” the man said. After describing the erratic driving he was witnessing, the OSHP dispatcher asked the man to clarify at one point.
“Passing on the left median? The left side?” the dispatcher asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the caller. “Yeah. Yeah like driving right down in the median right in the dirt. Just throwing dirt, grass, everything.”
By the time Berthelot got to the I-75 south between state Route 129 and the I-275 interchange in West Chester, state troopers were chasing him.
But he continued all the way to Cincinnati, where he took Fort Washington Way, to I-71, to I-275.
Cincinnati police eventually got involved in the chase. At one point, police said Berthelot stopped his semi, exited the cab and detached the trailer he was hauling before he climbed back into the cab and continued to drive away from police.
At another point, Cincinnati police said Berthelot let his wife out of the cab. She was “picked up” by uniformed officers and taken to a Cincinnati-area hospital for injuries and included a possible broken leg Cincinnati Police Assistant Chief Paul Neudigate said she suffered in “some type of physical assault either prior to getting into the tractor or while the pursuit was ongoing.”
At another point during the police pursuit, Berthelot called 9-1-1 dispatchers in Hamilton County that lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes. He said he wanted police to kill him during the call.
“I’m not gonna go down without a fight,” Berthelot said in the call. “The police are going to have to kill me. This is a plan called suicide by cop. This is my plan. OK?”
Eventually, a SWAT team sharp shooter shot up the engine block of Berthelot's semi on I-275, finally bringing the big rig to a halt on the city's west side. Berthelot was arrested on the highway.
At his initial court appearance in Hamilton County on Monday, a judge set bail at $275,000. Right now, Berthelot is charged with kidnapping, but Hamilton County prosecutors have told WHIO that could change once a grand jury reviews the case.
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