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Police led on chase near bypass

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Sebastian Herrera, a 17-year-old, was arrested yesterday after leading police on a chase.

The incident, which occurred at 11:25 a.m., began when Herrera was allegedly spotted by an individual who knew the suspect had a warrant out for his arrest.

"We received a call from an individual that the subject was in the area of Top Dog Carwash and he had a warrant for his arrest," said Capt. John Kauffman, of the Marion Police Department. "The subject had called, provided his name (and) dispatch confirmed (the) warrant for arrest for probation violation."

By the time police found him, Herrera was parked at the McClure Oil gas station on the 800 block of North Baldwin Street in a black Pontiac G-6, according to Kauffman.

"When (Lt. David Gilbert and Capt. Steve Scott) saw him at McClures, (Herrera) was in the passenger seat of the vehicle," Kauffman said. "The officers ID'd themselves and told him to get out, (Herrera) locked the doors and got in the driver's seat. He started the vehicle, officers told him not to, but he put it in drive (anyway)."

Scott discharged his firearm into the Pontiac's driver’s side front and rear tires in an effort to immobilize the vehicle, according to Kauffman.

Herrera continued to flee, with the rim of the vehicle exposed to the road. Herrera drove south on Baldwin Avenue before turning onto 14th Street, where he drove through at least five lawns on 14th Street, Mason Boulevard and Springhill Drive before exiting onto 17th Street.

Herrera drove back towards the bypass extremely recklessly with no regard for pedestrians or other motorists, Kauffman said.

At this point, officers decided to immobilize Herrera's vehicle on 17th and Jackson Street with a pit maneuver, a tactic where a police vehicle tries to make the driver lose control. Gilbert, who is trained in the maneuver, executed it successfully.

Gilbert placed the front passenger side of his vehicle against Herrera's rear driver’s side quarter. Herrera's vehicle spun out and was swiftly blocked in by the officers. Both vehicles suffered damage.

After Herrera’s vehicle was immobilized, Herrera jumped out of the vehicle with a backpack and ran southeast, before turning around to run north. He threw his backpack into a trash container at a residence, but was quickly surrounded and apprehended without incident, according to Kauffman.

Kauffman did not know if Herrera was on any substances at the time. Once arrested, officers found more than 30 grams of marijuana in his backpack, which indicated to officers that Herrera planned to deal it. Herrera also possessed a digital handheld scale used to weigh the substance.

Herrera was additionally charged with reckless driving, operating without ever being licensed, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, resisting law enforcement on foot and dealing marijuana.