A Willard woman faces multiple felonies in connection with leading authorities from multiple jurisdictions on a high speed pursuit and ramming a police cruiser Tuesday morning.
Arlena M. Hicks, 38, of 1837 S. Thomas Road, is accused of being intoxicated while going as high as 80 mph while leading police in the chase that started about 10:30 a.m., authorities said.
Sheriff's dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call about Hicks leaving after her green Ford Explorer hit another vehicle on Ohio 61, causing the other car to spin out and go into a ditch, Huron County Sheriff's Major Greg Englund said. The incident happened north of Peru Hollow Road.
"We were also advised there even could be as many as three people hit by this green Explorer," Englund added.
One motorist managed to follow Hicks and gave dispatchers her location as she headed north on Old State Road toward Norwalk.
Englund said the call was broadcast to the Norwalk Police Department and an officer located her at Sunrise Cooperative Inc. "That's where the pursuit started."
Sheriff's deputies joined the chase and took control as Hicks was near Wakeman.
Wakeman Police Chief Tim Hunker joined the pursuit on Ohio 303 near U.S. 20.
Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Martz attempted to pass Hicks because she wouldn't stop, Englund said, and her sport utility vehicle sideswiped the deputy's cruiser. After Martz managed to get in front of the SUV to box her in, Hicks rammed the back of Martz's car.
"It was pretty intense," Hunker added.
Police eventually got Hicks stopped on Ohio 303, about two miles west of the Lorain County line, where sheriff's deputies were waiting to assist. The Erie County Sheriff's Office started running parallel to the pursuit at some point, in case Hicks eluded local officers.
Hunker said he thought officers could have gotten injured because Hicks started moving her vehicle after stopping, when police had their weapons drawn. Hunker was on the driver's side of the SUV during the incident.
"We were stepping out of our vehicles at that time," the police chief said.
Englund said Hicks is accused of failing to listen to officers' orders, so she was forced out of her vehicle and into handcuffs.
"She appeared to be under the influence of drugs," he said.
In the Ohio 61 incident before the pursuit, Hicks hit the rear of the vehicle of David L. Stanfield, 51, of 4500 Willard West Road, Willard, while both motorists were driving north, the state Highway Patrol said. The trooper's report listed no citation, but he suspected Hicks was following Stanfield too closely.
Stanfield was not injured.
Another man involved in one of the early crashes, whose name was not available, was taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center with unspecified injuries, Englund said.
Deputies charged Hicks, who refused a drug test, with two counts of vehicular assault and one count each of driving under the influence and failing to comply with the order of a police officer.
"I expect the patrol will have charges on her because of the (Stanfield) accident," Englund said.
Hicks currently is in custody at the Huron County Jail.