Truck driver faces kidnapping, other charges for I-275 standoff, chase

UPDATE: 19 July: The truck driver, 40-year-old Patrick Berthelot of Alabama, is scheduled for arraignment Monday morning, July 20. He's charged with kidnapping and likely faces other charges. He remains in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

UPDATE 18 July: Cincinnati police gave a quick briefing after the incident, adding these details to this bizarre story that unfolded today:

  • The pursuit began after a call to OSP about an erratic semi driver
  • Driver refused to pull over, leading multiple agencies throughout Cincinnati on I-71, I-275 and other major roadways
  • Driver had a woman in his truck, later identified as his wife. He let her out only after police agreed to stay 500 feet back
  • Cincinnati Police assistant police chief Paul Neudigate said the woman may have a broken leg stemming from a domestic dispute that started this ordeal
  • Once the woman was out, a sharpshooter used a 50 caliber rifle to shoot the engine block while the truck was traveling 60-70 miles an hour to disable the engine. The oil leak brought the truck to a stop
  • The man held a knife to his own throat as cops approached. He was tasered, arrested and treated by EMTs.

FIRST REPORT: A semi-truck driver led the Ohio State Highway Patrol and multiple other police and sheriff's agencies in a pursuit that led them through Cincinnati and to the Coney Island area.

The first reports came in around 1:30 pm on Saturday July 18th. About 20 police cruisers were chasing a full-size semi-trailer, white with no markings, on I-71, thru the tunnel.

The driver as apparently armed with a person inside the cab with him. She was first described as a hostage, later scanner traffic indicated the woman was the truck driver's wife. He told dispatch he would pull over if his "life was safe" and said he would let the female out if the police stayed 500 feet behind his rig.

Over the next two hours, the man described as heavy set, in his 40s with tattoos on his left arm and wearing a blue t-shirt, got in and out of his truck, eventually disengaging the trailer from the cab, then took off again, both front tires shredded.

Eventually he was arrested on I-275 and treated at the scene for undisclosed injuries.

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