Sheriff: Man in ‘Meals on Wheels’ van stolen in Dayton nearly hits deputy

Sheriff: Man in ‘Meals on Wheels’ van stolen in Dayton nearly hits deputy

A Columbus man remains in jail Wednesday night after nearly hitting a Fayette County Sheriff's deputy with a "Meals on Wheels" van reportedly stolen in Dayton.

The near-collision Wednesday morning led to a high-speed pursuit on U.S. 35 East, just east of I-71 in Jeffersonville, that ended near state Route 435 (Old U.S. 35), according to the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

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Franklin Scales III, 41, was arrested and taken to the county jail in Washington Court House. He is being detained in lieu of a court appearance on the following charges:

Felonious assault,

Fleeing & eluding a law enforcement officer,

Receiving stolen property, and

Driving under suspension.

At 8:37 a.m., deputies received the call from someone reporting that a man was removing license plates from a white cargo-style van in the parking lot of the Love's Travel Center, U.S. 35 and I-71, Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said in a prepared statement.

When Deputy Andrew Parks and Deputy Jon Campbell made initial contact with the man later identified as Scales, he reportedly placed the van in drive and nearly hit Parks, who was near the front of the vehicle. The van did hit a parked semitrailer as it sped out of the lot.

The deputies pursued the van onto Garringer-Edgefield Road in Greene County. The driver then turned east onto state Route 435 (Old U.S. 35), entered I-71 South for a short distance, then crossed the median and onto northbound I-71.

The van exited onto state Route 435 and continued east before entering the U.S. 35 Bypass, where deputies and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stopped it and arrested Scales.

The investigation revealed the vehicle was a “Meals on Wheels” van reported stolen to the Dayton Police Department just prior to deputies responding to the suspicious call at the truck stop, Sheriff Stanforth said in the statement.

We're working to learn more about the vehicle theft and we'll update this developing report as warranted.

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