A 14-year-old Adriel School student who already had a warrant out for her arrest for a vehicle theft allegedly stole another car early Thursday morning and led officers on a pursuit chase across three counties.
Champaign County had a warrant out for the girl's arrest from an incident on Dec. 7, after investigators said she stole a car and was caught in Columbus.
Because of mis-communication between sheriff's offices, the girl remained at Adriel School until early Thursday morning, when she ran away with a a 15-year-old female student, according to police.
The school has had dozens of students run away from the campus the last few months, but West Liberty Police Chief Shane Oelker said this incident is more concerning.
"It's just a little more serious because they are putting other people's and their own lives in danger," Oelker said.
Adriel officials were not available for comment. The school offers residential services for at risk youths.
The two teens were first spotted just after 2:15 a.m. by a West Liberty police officer who saw them crash into the Ice Cream Parlor in West Liberty, 100 S. Detroit St.
The building had minor structural damage, but the two park benches outside the building were destroyed.
The officer turned on his lights and sirens and tried to get the driver to stop.
Instead, the two fled south on U.S. 68.
The Champaign County Sheriff's office joined the chase and set up stop sticks at Ohio 298 and U.S. 68.
Stop sticks are long tubes with spikes that span across a lane and are designed to gradually deflate the tires of a vehicle so the driver does not lose control instantly.
Two tires were punctured, but the girls kept going towards Clark County, officers said.
When they entered into Clark County, deputies deployed another set of stop sticks at U.S. 68 and Ohio 334. Those sticks deflated the other two tires, and the girls finally stopped in a ditch just south of Ohio 334.
One West Liberty resident who lives just across from the school's campus said she could not believe what happened.
"I'm pretty surprised it happened," Lori Milliron said. "Sometimes I forget the school is even there."
She has two children, 5 and 2, and said she will be more careful from now on.
"It does worry me quite a bit. I have my two cars that sit outside right across from the school every single night. I don't have a garage," she said.
Both teens were transported to the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center and face charges including theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident.
The incident remains under investigation, and further charges may be filed, police said.