A Dayton man involved in an Aug. 14 car chase that began in Washington C.H. and ended in the Village of Leesburg was sentenced Monday to nine months in prison for cocaine possession.
On Dec. 5 in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, Jerry Lee Walther pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, and possession of marijuana, a minor misdemeanor. Then on Monday, the court found that a “prison sentence is consistent” with statutory provisions and that Walther “is not amenable to an available community control sanction and a prison sentence would not impose an unnecessary burden on state resources.” The court also found that Walther has served a prior prison sentence.
He was sentenced to nine months in prison on the cocaine possession charge and court costs only on the marijuana possession count. Walther, 57, may be subject to a three-year period of supervision by the Adult Parole Authority after he’s released from prison.
On the evening of Aug. 14, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Adam Rummer made a traffic stop on Temple Street near North Main Street in Washington C.H. after observing traffic violations, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. The driver of the 2007 Lincoln MK4 was identified as Richard C. Armstrong, 32, of Dayton.
During the traffic stop, a clear plastic baggie was observed in the passenger door of the vehicle, according to Rummer. The passenger in the vehicle was identified as Jerry L. Walther. Rummer said that while attempting to retrieve the baggie, Armstrong put the vehicle into drive and fled at a high rate of speed with Rummer and other sheriff’s deputies giving chase on Eyman Park Drive toward the Lakeview Avenue area.
During the chase, Rummer said he saw items discarded from the vehicle. The pursuit continued to the center of town and went west on Court Street and onto Leesburg Avenue before turning onto the U.S. 35 West access road.
The Washington C.H. Police Department assisted during the chase until the suspect vehicle departed the city limits. The vehicle continued to U.S. 22 West and went westbound before abruptly turning to an eastbound direction, said Stanforth. This caused the suspect vehicle and a sheriff’s cruiser to run into each other, causing minor damage to both vehicles.
However, the pursuit continued with the suspect vehicle crossing the U.S. 35 East access road before turning south on U.S. 62 toward the Village of Staunton. The chase continued south on U.S. 62 and entered Highland County where members of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, the Leesburg Police Department, and Ohio State Highway Patrol were set up with “stop sticks,” according to Stanforth.
The stop sticks caused the vehicle to come to a stop on State Route 28 and U.S. 62 in the Village of Leesburg, where Armstrong and Walther were both taken into custody.
Deputy Jason Havens and K-9 “Dexi” responded to the area where items were discarded from the vehicle. Stanforth said they located a substance “presumptively identified as cocaine.”
The vehicle, registered to Walther, was impounded by the sheriff’s office.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica