Just before 2:00am Thursday morning, Columbus Police responded to the area of 23rd St. North in response to a noise complaint. Officer Greg Harstad pulled up to car parked on the lawn of 1716 23rd St. North.[Harstad recognized the car from an earlier noise complaint across town-CK]. As Officer Harstad pulled up, the male behind the wheel, later identified as Rodriquez Nelson, immediately stepped out of the car and away from the vehicle.
Harstad instructed Nelson to sit down in the drivers seat, but Nelson quickly reached behind the driver’s seat and pulled out a small brown bag. Harstad immediately pulled out his Taser and loudly ordered Nelson to show his hands. Nelson showed the bag was empty and slowly made his way to the front of the car. Just as Officers Bo Pearson and John Rice pulled to the scene, Harstad said to Rodriquez: “Don not run, don’t even think about running.”
“I ain’t runnin, man.” replied Rodriquez.
No sooner had the words left the young man’s lips, he sprinted east down 18th St. north. Officer John Rice leaped into a full gallop and began to chase the subject on foot while Officer Bo Pearson and Ross Richardson surrounded the area in their cruisers. Officer Harstad stayed on scene with the car to question the second subject.[I learned later that Officer Rice has a “bum knee” and made it even more impressive to see how fast he moved when chasing Rodriquez-CK]
Rodriquez bolted down 24th St. headed south and then went east on Alfalfa. Officers lost the speedy fugitive momentarily between housing units on Barley and Alfalfa. Ross Richardson then radioed that he had identified Rodriquez crouched in some bushes and Pearson and Rice rushed to the scene.
Rodriquez jumped from the bushes as officers closed in and then absconded east down Barley towards MLK Jr Drive. Officer Rice dashed after him and gained enough ground to witness the nimble escape artist dive into a large trash can behind a residence on Barley.[The trash can was a standard 64 Gallon hinged trash can. The can was mostly empty except for some trash remnants and a couple of tin cans. It did have its fair share of ants- Officers remarked later that Rodriquez must have gotten “eaten alive’ during his brief stay in the refuse bin-CK]
Rice was able to extract Rodriquez from the wastebasket without incident and Rodriquez was remarkably cordial with the Officers as he was escorted back to the original scene.
“I didn’t think you’d get me man, no way.” Rodriquez told Rice.
Officers searched Rodriquez and placed him into custody. A small bag of marijuana was found in the console of the vehicle and Rodgiquez was transported to LDAC and charged with Failure to Obey a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Marijuana in a Vehicle and Excessive Noise. Rodriquez repeatedly said that the officers had no “just cause” to question him in the first place.0