The Journal Gazette
Saturday, August 21, 2021 1:00 am

Wanted driver escapes police in foot chase

Eludes dogs, drones in Wells bean field after his car disabled

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Area police are still tracking a man wanted in Huntington and Allen counties who led police on a pursuit and then taunted them on a Facebook post. 

Richard Wedlake, 25, of Huntington, fled an off-duty Huntington police officer who recognized him about 8 p.m. Thursday, Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton said. The officer knew Wedlake had warrants for his arrest, the sheriff said. 

The officer radioed dispatch, and an officer from Markle and another from Warren caught up with Wedlake at County Road 200 South and Indiana 5. Officers got behind Wedlake's black Mitsubishi Eclipse that had false license plates, near Indiana 124 and County Road 400 East. 

When Wedlake crossed into Wells County at Indiana 218, officers were waiting for him and threw out stop sticks, deflating Wedlake's tires, so he fled on foot, Newton said. The Wells County release said he ran through a bean field. Police employed dogs, drones, foot patrols and a helicopter to search for Wedlake without success.

The Wells County Sheriff's Department posted Thursday it was looking for Wedlake, but did not believe he was still in the area of Indiana 218 and County Road 600 West. The department asked people to stay in their homes and away from the area as the search continued. The post also said Wedlake could be armed and dangerous.

Later a post said there was nothing that made police believe he was armed at the time of the pursuit and residents “should continue their day-to-day activities.” 

Newton said Wedlake posted a brazen remark on the Wells County Sherriff's Department Facebook page: “Did they catch him yet?” It has since been taken down.

Wedlake has several misdemeanor charges and one felony charge in Huntington County alleging breaking and entering a residence dating to January. The misdemeanor charges include leaving the scene of an accident, resisting law enforcement, invasion of privacy, domestic battery and battery resulting in bodily injury. 

The Allen County misdemeanor is for resisting law enforcement in April 2019. 

A 26-year-old woman who was a passenger in Wedlake's vehicle was caught shortly after the vehicle pursuit ended. She is charged with misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, according to a Friday release from the Wells County sheriff's office.

Anyone who knows Wedlake's whereabouts is asked to call the Wells County sheriff's office at 260-824-3426. He was last seen with short blond hair, no shirt and dark pants. According to court documents, he is white, 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds.

Wedlake was facing away from officers when he ran so it is unknown if he still has a beard, police said.

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