Former police officer in Ohio highway standoff, wife found dead, authorities say

Friday, August 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) _ A recently fired police officer whose wife was found slain led authorities on a chase Friday in a stolen sheriff's SUV and was shot and wounded after a standoff, authorities said.

Hermando Harton jumped from the vehicle and ran into nearby woods after the SUV was stopped by spikes state troopers put down on Interstate 71 near Mansfield, in central Ohio about 70 miles north of Columbus.

Dozens of law officers had surrounded the vehicle for several hours on the interstate.

The chase began at a truck stop near Mount Gilead, 30 miles south of Mansfield, when Harton exchanged gunfire with Morrow County sheriff's deputies and stole the marked SUV, state patrol Lt. Gary Lewis said.

Earlier, Harton's wife was found dead in their Columbus home, said the police chief there, James Jackson. He wouldn't release further details.

Harton had children with him in the SUV but later released them, Lewis said. He did not know if the children were related to Harton. The children were taken into state custody, authorities said.

Harton had been fired from the Columbus police force two weeks ago, Jackson said.