Williamsburg police say a local man caused a three-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon before fleeing the scene of the accident on foot.
Deputy Chief Jason Caddell said that a white Nissan pick-up truck was traveling north along US25W when the accident happened just past Williamsburg Plastics Road about 2:20 p.m.
Angela King, the driver of a green Kia Soul, which was behind the white Nissan truck, told police that the white truck was swerving and almost struck a bridge at Three-Point.
Deloris Bray, the driver of a black Dodge Ram, which was headed south along US25W, told police that she could see the white truck weaving onto her side of the road.
“She (Bray) said she got over as far as she could, but couldn’t get far enough over,” Caddell said. “She said she thought he was going to hit her head on.”
The white truck then struck the black truck causing it to go sideways and collide with the green Soul, Caddell said.
The Soul stopped partially on the road and partially on the shoulder of the road. The black truck stopped about three feet short of going over an embankment. One of the front wheels was partially over the embankment. The back wheels were still in the roadway.
The white truck ended up about 100 feet away traveling several feet through the front yard of a house before coming to rest on an embankment beside the house.
“According to witnesses, the male driver took off running from the scene,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird. “You can see the beer cans around so obviously speed and alcohol were contributing factors.”
Bird said that the female passenger in the white truck, Randi M. Peace, 31, of Williamsburg, was charged with public intoxication and failure to render aid. Peace has provided information to police about the identity of the driver.
“At this time, we suspect the driver is a Jason Rhinehart, who has multiple warrants and has a history of fleeing law enforcement,” Bird said.
A Williamsburg police K-9 unit was called to the scene and tracked Rhinehart for about 20 – 30 minutes without apprehending him.
Officials think the Rhinehart may have gotten a ride from someone.
Bird said that arrest warrants have been obtained for Rhinehart, who is facing seven counts of first-degree wanton endangerment stemming from the number of occupants in the vehicles involved in the crash, and leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid.
Whitley County EMS was called to the scene, but no one had to be transported to the hospital.
“It was lucky because there were several kids involved,” Bird said.
Bird, Caddell, Detective Bobby Freeman, Officer Troy Sharp, K-9 Officer Brandon Prewitt and his police K-9 Egor all assisted at the scene. Several Williamsburg firefighters also assisted at the scene providing traffic control.