ATV pursuit ends in arrest

A Tecumseh man was jailed Monday after allegedly leading sheriff’s deputies on a chase while driving a 4-wheeler on county roads. Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Wolfe was patrolling about 11:30 a.m. when he noticed an all-terrain vehicle that was being operated by a male driver turn onto SH 9A from Hardesty Road; such vehicles are not street legal. The deputy activated his patrol unit’s siren, but the driver did not stop. Wolfe pursued the ATV, which reached speeds of about 50 mph, his report shows. At one point, Wolfe stopped behind the ATV, but when the deputy opened his door to make contact with the driver, “the rider looked back and accelerated,” the report said. The pursuit continued, reaching speeds up to 70 mph, according to the report. The chase continued in areas along Benson Park Road, Econtuchka Road, and eventually to the dead-end road of Willow Glade, where the driver found an open pasture and allegedly fled on foot into the woods, where a search commenced. Through talking with witnesses, deputies were able to identify the alleged rider and track him down; the suspect allegedly admitted involvement and was arrested in the case. Ryan Andrew Blankinship, 20, was jailed in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center Monday night on complaints of reckless driving, eluding police and operating an ATV on a roadway. No formal charges have been filed; the case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office.