What began as a drug investigation Thursday night quickly became a high-speed vehicle pursuit, a fiery crash and finally, the apprehension of two suspects.
While watching a suspected drug house shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, a Washington C.H. Police Department officer saw a gray Mitsubishi four-door with Ohio temporary tags parked at the home. The officer said he had information that Dustin Leisure and Ashley Lowe were driving in a similar vehicle with temporary tags, reports said.
The vehicle departed after being at the home for approximately five minutes. It then went eastbound through an alley onto Church Street toward Washington Avenue.
“The vehicle pulled up to the intersection and stopped at the stop sign, at which time I made a right turn onto Church Street,” said Patrolman Derek Pfeifer’s report. “While executing the turn, my vehicle’s headlights illuminated the passenger compartment and I was able to positively identify the driver as Ashley Lowe and the passenger as Dustin Leisure.”
The officer pulled his cruiser next to the suspect vehicle facing the opposite direction and exited his cruiser.
“I walked in front of the car and ordered Mr. Leisure out several times but he would not comply,” Pfeifer wrote. “As I was walking to the passenger side to extract Mr. Leisure, I observed him grab the steering wheel and turn it to the left. Upon doing so, Miss Lowe accelerated the vehicle, nearly striking me and proceeded across Washington Avenue on Church Street.”
The officer began pursuit that continued on to Willard Street. Lowe reportedly failed to obey several stop signs and traffic signals as she attempted to elude the officer by making several turns down residential streets.
The vehicle continued back to Washington Avenue and out of the city limits at speeds over 100 miles per hour around traffic, according to reports.
The pursuit continued on U.S. Route 22 at high speeds. Lowe did come to a stop at one point, but the vehicle accelerated again following the brief stop and the pursuit continued.
“I believe that it was at that point that Mr. Leisure and Miss Lowe switched seats, and Mr. Leisure became the operator of the vehicle,” the report said.
The pursuit traveled to Old Springfield Road and across Washington-Waterloo Road, where Leisure reportedly failed to stop for the four-way flashing light. The vehicle continued to U.S. Route 62, where he proceeded across the road at a high rate of speed, disregarding the plainly visible stop sign.
The chase headed into Bloomingburg where Leisure allegedly turned his headlights off and continued at high speeds, making several turns in an attempt to elude the officer. Another officer joined the pursuit.
The suspect vehicle crashed in the 6000 block of West Road. It overturned into a field and caught fire, reports said.
After the fire was extinguished, it was discovered that Leisure and Lowe had fled on foot. Both were located a short time later on West Road by Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies and EMTs. Both were taken by squad to Fayette County Memorial Hospital for treatment of their injuries from the crash.
Lowe, 28, of 526 Peabody Ave., was released after treatment and taken into custody. She was charged with failure to comply, a third-degree felony, and was incarcerated in the Fayette County Jail. She has since posted bond.
Leisure, 29, also of 526 Peabody Ave., required additional treatment for his injuries and needed to be transferred to another medical facility, according to reports. His third-degree felony failure to comply charge will likely be presented to a grand jury.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica