Standoff on I-71 in Warren County halts traffic for more than an hour

Standoff on I-71 in Warren County halts traffic for more than an hour
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 1:20 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2022 at 9:28 AM EST
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WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - A police standoff resulted in I-71 traffic coming to a complete standstill for more than an hour Wednesday.

Around 12:30 p.m., Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to I-71 for reports of a Hyundai SUV driving recklessly near State Route 741, according to OSP.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as 32-year-old Gerale Sanchez Witcher, of Cincinnati, refused to stop for troopers, thus leading to a pursuit, troopers explained.

Stop sticks were used, and the SUV came to a stop multiple times on the interstate.

When the vehicle was stopped, troopers ordered Witcher out of the vehicle, but he refused and continued driving away each time, OSP said.

The Hyundai finally stopped on I-71 near the rest areas just north of SR-123, and the standoff began, according to troopers.

He was taken into custody after more than an hour of negotiations with law enforcement, OSP explained.

Witcher is being medically cleared at a hospital before he is transported to the Warren County Jail, troopers added.

He is charged with failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and operating a vehicle impaired, OSP said. More charges could be filed.

The highway was reopened around 2:15 p.m.

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