UPDATE @ 1:30 p.m. (Nov. 29):
An arrest warrant has been issued for a 26-year-old man police said was involved in a theft and pursuit from the Walmart store on York Commons, according to police.
Tylor Allen Hamm is wanted on charges of theft and felony failure to comply and police said additional charges will be reviewed by a grand jury.
Police said Hamm was the driver in the chase.
Anyone with information on Hamm’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 937-223-2080.
A male and female, both 26, will likely face several felony charges for damaging two police cruisers while trying to elude capture for being suspected of shoplifting from a Walmart Superstore, Butler Twp. Police Chief John Porter said.
Porter said the irony is that had they cooperated after being accused of taking "less than $100 worth of miscellaneous items," they probably would have been given summonses to appear in court. Now, the potential stakes are much higher because they triggered a police pursuit that endangered lives, he said.
"They escalated into a very, very potentially dangerous situation in a short amount of time," Chief Porter said. The entire incident -- from fleeing the store lot to the crash -- lasted about two minutes, he said.
How the Incident Began
Porter said the pursuit began in the parking lot of the Walmart Superstore at North Dixie Drive and York Commons Boulevard, when the man jumped behind the wheel of a blue car and sped off through the parking lot just after 5:15 p.m.
Butler Twp. police were approaching the car because they had been called to the store on a theft-in-progress call, the chief said.
The driver sideswiped the first police cruiser while trying to get out of the parking lot, then backed into a second cruiser after crashing into a Dumpster behind a Hooter's restaurant on Miller Lane. He fled onto York Commons, then onto Benchwood Road as police pursued the car onto Autumn Ridge Drive.
The male and female were taken to Grandview Medical Center after suffering non-life threatening injuries when they crashed in a wooded area behind a home on Autumn Ridge Drive, which brought the pursuit to an end.
The officers were not injured, Power said, and the cruisers will have to be repaired.
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A couple returning to Canada suffered minor injuries when their vehicle was rear-ended in the area of Miller Lane during the incident, Porter said. Police interviewed them, had them checked out medically and released them.
About the Suspects
Porter said police believe the male was under the influence of drugs because of his behavior in speeding away from the Walmart.
It's too early to say whether the drugs were opioids, the chief said, but police also found drug paraphernalia on the female. Police found no weapons, he said.
Porter said criminal charges could include anything from robbery to felony fleeing and eluding.
Police Pursuit Policy
Porter said the incident fit the police department's pursuit policy because the male purposefully hit two police cruisers.
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