Danville Officer Struck, Suspect's Vehicle Crashes In Centerburg


UPDATED: Monday May 20, 2013 11:21 AM

A man wanted for allegedly striking a Danville police officer with a vehicle was in custody after crashing in downtown Centerburg Sunday morning.

Just after 5 a.m. Sunday morning, Knox County Sheriff's deputies were investigating several business break-ins on Columbus Road.

A little less than an hour later, Mount Vernon Police attempted to stop a vehicle in Howard Street as part of the investigation.

That vehicle fled the area, and officers pursued it on U.S. Route 36.

Danville officer Chad Lishness tried to deploy stop sticks on Coshocton Road in Mount Vernon and was struck by the suspect's vehicle. It did not stop, and officers lost contact with it.

Lishness was hospitalized at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in serious condition Sunday night.

Shirley Leffler said she witnessed the officer being hit.

"It was awful. He wasn't even moving. It knocked him right out of his shoes," Leffler said. "And the police officer... he hit him so far, he just went up and came down on the pavement," Leffler said. "It was awful. He wasn't even moving. It knocked him right out of his shoes."

Authorities issued a Blue Alert for Josh Baldridge.

Baldridge, 18, was the suspect in the case and was said to be driving a Pontiac Grand Am.

Police said around 8 a.m. they were called to investigate a report of a male slumped over in a vehicle near Goodall and Murray Roads. The suspect fled again when officers approached.

Police said that Baldridge attempted to elude deputies but crashed on Main Street in Centerburg.

Baldridge was being held at the Knox County Jail on Sunday.  He was charged with OVI, but could face more charges. Baldridge was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

An auxilliary officer was with Lishness at the time of the crash, but he was not injured.

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