Police Catch Person Wanted In Connection With Deadly Whitehall Crash


UPDATED: Tuesday December 4, 2012 6:19 PM

Police have confirmed that they caught a person wanted in connection with a crash that killed one person and injured an officer.

Authorities caught up with Matthew Jones at about 10:30 a.m. near East Woodrow and Parsons avenues, where they found his vehicle, containing a knife and a hammer.

According to police, a Whitehall officer spotted Jones' vehicle at about 10 a.m. Because the vehicle was spotted outside of their jurisdiction, Columbus police attempted to pull Jones over.

Police said that Jones, 29, ditched his vehicle in the 400 block of East Woodrow Avenue and ran from officers on foot.

He was arrested a short time later after he was found sitting on a porch making phone calls.

Authorities were searching for Jones out of a Nov. 30 incident, when he allegedly ignored a protection order and called and harassed his girlfriend.

"So we set up officers in the area, to watch the house, because we feared for her safety and to make sure she was ok. And, lo and behold, he did show up at the residence," said Dan Kelso, Whitehall Police Department.

But once Jones saw officers, he took off, and police called for backup as they pursued him.

Officer Enrique Ortega responded to that call for help and investigators said he headed westbound on East Main Street. They said when he reached the intersection of Beechwood Avenue and East Main Street, he was struck by a car not involved in the chase.

Vernon Lightle was killed. He left behind a wife of 48 years and three children.

Sharon Lightle, the daughter of the 78-year-old man who died, said that she still is unable to understand what happened.

"You know, he wasn't bothering anyone, he was just doing his thing," Sharon said. "It's just so unbelievable, I mean. If he would have died of natural causes, I could have accepted that. But not this way. Not this way.

As of Friday, Jones was charged with Failure to Comply (felony fleeing), Violation of a Protection Order, Aggravated Menacing, and Domestic Violence Threats.

Ortega suffered internal injuries, including broken bones but was expected to make a full recovery. He is still recovering at an area hospital.

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