COLCHESTER/BURLINGTON -- A Michigan man was taken into custody Saturday afternoon after running from law enforcement on Friday.
Around 3:28 p.m. Nov. 13, officers from the Colchester Police Department (CPD) were engaged in an investigation in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force. Officers stopped a 2019 Jeep bearing a Pennsylvania registration in the parking lot of the McDonald’s restaurant on Heineburg Drive, and a narcotics canine was then called to the scene.
The canine reportedly identified possible contraband inside the vehicle, and officers then went to ask the occupants of the Jeep to exit the vehicle just after 4 p.m. The operator is said to have refused to cooperate and subsequently fled the scene heading southbound towards Burlington, almost striking an officer while doing so. CPD and DEA agents initiated a pursuit at that time.
The vehicle reportedly proceeded at high rates of speed south on Plattsburg Avenue and then south on North Avenue in Burlington, at which point officers lost sight of it. Upon turning onto North Ave., officers are said to have found that the Jeep left the roadway and struck two residential structures near the intersection of Staniford Road.
The driver of the vehicle reportedly exited the vehicle and fled eastbound on foot while his female passenger remained on scene; she was later transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) for minor injuries.
Officers with the Burlington Police Department (BPD) arrived at the site of the crash, and one evacuated children from the second home that was hit. Members of the Burlington Fire Department and Vermont Gas Systems also responded to assess the crash and evaluate the structures.
Meanwhile, law enforcement began searching for the suspect. Because of his direction of flight, a BPD school resource officer reportedly initiated a lockdown at Lyman C. Hunt Middle School and C.P. Smith Elementary School. Staff at Hunt Middle informed dispatch that the suspect allegedly attempted to enter the school but then left. Two canines were called to perform tracks, and members of the public are said to have called in reporting the suspect was running through backyards on Gazo Avenue and then Lori Lane.
Officers were unable to locate and apprehend the suspect, identified as Jason Cortez Kelsaw, a 28-year-old from Detroit, Michigan, who remained at large and wanted for eluding a police officer while operating a vehicle in a negligent or grossly negligent manner as of Friday evening.
BPD then reported on Saturday that it received a call around 2:25 p.m. Nov. 14, the caller from Burlington’s North End saying that they had discovered Kelsaw hiding in their shed and that the suspect again fled on foot after being found by the resident.
Responding officers began establishing a perimeter while obtaining a description and quickly located Kelsaw. He was detained by BPD without incident and then taken into custody by Colchester police on charges stemming from CPD’s initial contact the day before. Kelsaw was later transported to UVMMC for evaluation.