CIRCLEVILLE — One Circleville woman died in a crash following a canceled police pursuit Wednesday that started in Circleville and ended in Wayne Township.
According to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, Circleville Police were pursuing a grey Buick south on Court Street Wednesday afternoon at about 12:07 p.m. The vehicle turned onto U.S. 23 northbound and eventually U.S. 22 west. Police believed one of the occupants could have had a warrant for their arrest.
Circleville Police terminated the chase due to speed in the area of U.S. 22 and state Route 104. That’s when the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, who had already been dispatched to the chase and were in the area but not yet had joined the pursuit, searched the area and at approximately 12:14 p.m. spotted the crashed vehicle.
Inside the car was Tayler Fowler, 20, of Circleville, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sara Embrey, 22, of Amanda, was also inside the car but was treated and released at the scene. Damien Butcher, 22, of Junction Cit,y was found in a field near the car, attempting to flee. Butcher was transported to OhioHealth Berger hospital before being transferred to Grant Hospital.
According to Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff, speed was a factor in the crash. There have been 11 fatal crashes in Pickaway County, up from eight last year.
“We have to make a determination at this point who the driver of the vehicle was,” Radcliff said. “That’s what our detectives are doing right now. The victim that was killed was in the back seat.”
Radcliff credited Circleville Police for terminating the chase, saying it was “the right call.”
“We have to use good judgment in those situations to balance public safety to getting someone behind bars,” Radcliff commented. “They used good judgment to call off the pursuit when speeds got excessive and they got into more traffic.
Radcliff said it was Deputy Steven Harger who located the car after trying to move in to assist on the chase but was unable to catch up before it was terminated.
“He was behind them at a distance and once it was over deputies started checking the area, which is when he found the accident. It was really two separate incidents, the chase and then the fatality accident.”
Radcliff said it was tragic to have the loss of life on the call.
“Unfortunately when you’re going at high speeds and you’re on county roads one little wrong turn or maneuver can cost lives,” Radcliff said. “Many times law enforcement gets criticized for chases and not using good judgment but they used good judgment and made a decision to call off the chase and put public safety ahead of the potential arrest.”
Radcliff said the crash in still under investigation.