By Steve Garbacz
KENDALLVILLE — An Albion man was found and arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly fled police, crashed into a gas line causing a leak and then evaded police for four hours.
As a habitual traffic violator, he wasn’t supposed to be driving in the first place, which likely explains why police said he fled when an officer attempted to stop his vehicle.
Jason Matthew Tuttle, 36, of the 700 block of West Main Street, Albion, is facing charges including two felony counts of resisting law enforcement, driving as a habitual traffic violator, criminal mischief and criminal recklessness.
At 8:37 p.m. Thursday, a Kendallville police officer attempted to stop Tuttle’s vehicle while it was traveling on Mitchell Street in the downtown. According to police, Tuttle didn’t stop, heading west until he wrecked his 2006 Buick LaCrosse into a natural gas pipe near the corner of Mitchell Street and Weston Avenue, Kendallville Police Chief Rob Wiley said.
Tuttle got out of the vehicle and fled on foot, Wiley said.
The crash caused a leak in the gas line and Kendallville Fire Department and the gas company were contacted to shut off flow and repair the damage.
Officers contacted the owners of the vehicle, who said Tuttle had borrowed the car, Wiley said.
Police lost Tuttle and initiated a search, including calling in an Avilla Police Department K-9 officer and the Noble County Sheriff’s Department aerial drone, Wiley said. The K-9 picked up a trail, which led to a residence in the area of Main and Ohio streets in Kendallville.
No one was home at the time, but the police waited because the dog strongly indicated that it was on the right track, Wiley said.
“The dog was very definite the track led to that house,” Wiley said.
The resident returned home shortly after. Tuttle was not at the house, but police received information about where he might have gone, Wiley said. That information led them to a home in the area of C.R. 300N and C.R. 500E, where they found Tuttle at 1:01 a.m. He was arrested without further incident, Wiley said.
He was taken to the Noble County Jail and held on $4,500 bond.