Man arrested after leading police on high-speed pursuit, crashing car at Columbus intersection

COLUMBUS, Ind. – A Portage man was taken into custody after he crashed his car while trying to get away from police Saturday morning, leaving another driver seriously hurt.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, deputies and Columbus police assisted in the pursuit as they tracked a Nissan car traveling south on U.S. 31. just after 7 a.m. Saturday. The car turned around at 10th Street and continued northbound on 31.

The chase continued out of Columbus city limits at speeds of up to 90 mph, and both agencies terminated the pursuit as it neared Interstate 65.

Around 7:40 a.m., Columbus police responded to a crash at 3rd Street and Lyndsey Street. One of the vehicles was the same Nissan from the earlier pursuit on U.S. 31, police said.

Witnesses said the Nissan was traveling at a high rate of speed and disregarded a red light before slamming into a Ford Taurus driven by David A. Gates, 56, North Vernon. Columbus firefighters had to extricate Gates from the car, and he was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with serious injuries.

The driver of the Nissan, identified as 49-year-old Gerardo Hurtado of Portage, refused to exit his vehicle after the crash, police said. Officers broke a window on the vehicle to unlock the doors and used a Taser when Hurtado refused to get out.

Even after being removed from the vehicle, Hurtado continued to struggle and spit at officers, police said.

Hurtado was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital before being transported to the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury, resisting law enforcement and battery by bodily waste on a law enforcement officer.