Columbus police: Couple parked on Riverwalk flee from officer

A couple whose van was parked on the Riverwalk evaded an officer and drove up a hill before they escaped on foot, reports state.

Officer Jason Carden spotted the 1994 Toyota Pievia on the Riverwalk near the Georgia Power Dam by First Avenue around 3:25 a.m. Tuesday. He approached and saw a woman, later identified in reports as 17-year-old Tiffany Wilson, in the front passenger seat and a man, later identified as Samuel Ferrell, 22, lying in the back of the van, police said.

The woman told Carden that they’d run out of gas and that someone had gone to get more. She gave Carden her Social Security card and birth certificate. The man told the officer his name, and while Carden checked their information he also checked the van’s license tag, reports state.

That’s when the man started the vehicle and drove off, speeding south down the Riverwalk. Carden started to chase the van and again spotted it as it was driving up a hill toward the Johnston Mill Lofts access road. The couple jumped out of the van and ran east, and Carden began chasing the man, police said.

Reports state the officer lost sight of the suspect when he turned onto 29th Street, and a search failed to locate either of the suspects. Officers received permission to search the man’s Bradley Circle home, but didn’t find him.

A background check showed that Ferrell has an outstanding probation violation warrant, and that his license is suspended. A check on Wilson revealed that she’s been reporting missing from Phenix City, police said.

When Carden searched the van before it was towed, he found about 3 grams of suspected marijuana inside, reports state.

Police said that warrants were taken out on both suspects.