POMEROY — A Lancaster man who led numerous law enforcement agencies on a high speed pursuit through Meigs County in March 2017 pleaded guilty on Thursday as a jury trial was set to begin in his case.
Jason A. Austin, 35, pleaded guilty to charges of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony; failure to comply with the signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; and inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor.
In pleading guilty, Austin was sentenced to a prison term of 30 months, consecutive to a five-year sentence he is already serving out of Fairfield County. Additionally, he was sentenced to five-years of community control, with an 18-month underlying sentence.
In addition, Austin was ordered to pay $1,600 restitution to Eastern Local School District for damage caused as the result of the pursuit.
The pursuit began after Austin allegedly stole a vehicle in Parkersburg, crossing into Washington County, before entering Meigs County.
Law enforcement followed Austin down Route 7, back up Route 33 and across Route 681 before he went back down Route 7 toward Eastern, reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The pursuit came to an end when Austin crashed into the fence surrounding the sewer treatment facility behind Eastern High School.
Austin was represented in the case by Britt Wiseman. Prosecutor James K. Stanley and assistant prosecutor Jeff Adkins represented the state.
Stanley stated that 12 officers and vehicles were part of the pursuit which presented a risk of serious physical harm to the public as it went approximately 50 miles through the county.
Wiseman asked the judge to adopt the plea agreement in the case, adding that Austin understands the wrongfulness of his actions which were fueled by drug addiction.
Addressing the court, Austin stated that he was sorry for his actions, including scaring the kids at the school. He stated that had he known it was a school he would not have went there.
Austin said he is trying to get help for his addiction while in prison so that he can go back home and be a father.
“I am sick of living this life,” said Austin.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.