Columbus police: Inmate work crew dives away from fleeing fugitive's crashing car

Inmates and a corrections officer had to dive aside today when a fugitive police were chasing veered off the road at Second Avenue and Eighth Street, where his Kia Sephia crushed a stop sign, glanced off an oak tree and smashed into a truck.

Then the driver got out and ran, abandoning his car with the keys in the ignition, and leaving what appeared to be a brand-new, gloriously red University of Alabama baseball cap. Witnesses said he first tried to hide beneath porch steps at 807 Second Ave., but was flushed out when the homeowner arrived right after the wreck.

The man then ran west between that home and the house next door, and officers lost track of him.

Police said a fugitive squad had been serving a warrant at another residence in the downtown Historic District when their target came speeding out of the driveway and fled, with officers right on his tail.

When the excitement ended about 11 a.m., witnesses were relieved no one was hurt and the damage was relatively minor.

“I didn’t know I could move that fast at my age,” said the corrections officer, whose inmate work crew had been mowing the right-of-way at the intersections northwest corner. In sideswiping the oak tree, the car threaded a space no wider than the sidewalk between the tree and the front porch steps at 801 Front Ave. before hitting the Dodge Ram truck parked in the driveway. The truck had only a dent in the panel by its left rear tire.

Police did not identify the fugitive or say what he was wanted for.