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Judge issues $275K bond for man accused of holding woman hostage in semi

Dash footage shows the hours-long pursuit that closed I-275
Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 15:31:57-04

A judge on Monday handed down a $275,000 bond for the man accused of holding his wife hostage in a semitrailer and leading police on an hourslong chase on Interstate 275.

Police said 40-year-old Patrick Berthelot was finally arrested around 3:45 p.m. Saturday after officers deployed a stun gun on him.

Berthelot has been charged with kidnapping, and the state's attorney said on Monday that additional charges are still possible.

According to Cincinnati Police assistant chief Paul Neudigate, Berthelot's wife was taken to the hospital after Berthelot let her out. She may have a broken leg - indication that an assault did happen at some point in the chase, he said.

Neudigate said the chase was handled appropriately.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers pursued Berthelot for hours Saturday afternoon, after 911 calls in Butler County alerted them to a semi driving recklessly on the highway.

Neudigate said the pursuit began on I-75 southbound in Butler County before the driver took Fort Washington Way to I-71 and headed north. He then got onto I-275 West and drove in circles along both sides of I-275 near Kellogg and Asbury Roads. Police said Berthelot recklessly drove on the wrong sides of I-275 during the chase.

"For several hours we knew that there was a possible hostage in there," said Neudigate. "So our goal is, one, get the hostage out, then we’ll figure out how to resolve the situation."

Neudigate said officers were able to close down I-275 to prevent the semi from encountering other drivers during the chase.

"He would’ve killed somebody," said Neudigate. "Let me make this clear. Had it not been shut down, had we not got involved, the way he was recklessly driving a 5,000-, 10,000-pound vehicle, somebody would have been dead today."

He said officers from multiple jurisdictions in the area tried to deploy stop sticks, but Berthelot veered the semi toward officers. In April, Springdale officer Kaia Grant was hit and killedby a driver while attempting to deploy stop sticks during a police chase.

Neudigate said one stop stick was effective, however, and the semi blew a tire. Berthelot continued to drive on the flat for quite some time, with intermittent stops, when police said he would communicate with officers.

Police said Berthelot stopped for a moment near the Sutton Road overpass, where he separated his cab from the trailer before continuing to flee along the highway in the detached cab. He later stopped again to release his wife before continuing to flee from police.

Neudigate said officials called in a SWAT team, who then fired rounds into the engine block of the semi truck. He said this eventually disabled the truck, forcing the driver to stop, and officers were able to approach. Berthelot then held himself at knifepoint, and Neudigate said police fired nonlethal rounds and used a stun gun to take him into custody.

"Our SWAT team sniper leader did an outstanding job," said Neudigate. "This is why we train. He used it as it passed at 60, 70 miles an hour and was able to accurately and effectively put rounds into that engine block."