Man arrested after high-speed chase

A man suspected of driving while intoxicated and without a license was arrested after allegedly leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase early Sunday morning.

Michael S. Tea, 23, of Clyde, was charged with failure to comply with an order, driving under suspension, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and weaving zig-zag course, according to a Tiffin Police Department report. Judge Mark Repp of Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court set his bond at $81,000 cash.

Tea remained incarcerated in Seneca County Jail Sunday evening, a spokesman said.

Officer Jake DeMonte said he tried to initiate a traffic stop on Sandusky Street near Hudson Street because police had received a complaint of the vehicle having an impaired driver, and he could tell the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Impala, had been involved in a crash a few minutes earlier due to it leaking fluids.

DeMonte said Tea never stopped and was trying to get away because he did not have a license. He estimated the pursuit to be at least 5 miles and said it went through Tiffin and out to CR 38.

The chase reached speeds of 70 mph in the city and more than 85 mph outside of the city limits, he said.

The pursuit ended where CR 38 is closed. DeMonte said Tea drove up to the road-closed barricades and put the car in reverse, backing into his police cruiser.

“(There was) no damage to my car,” he said.

DeMonte said Tea was driving a vehicle rented by his employer for him to use. DeMonte said Tea has not had a license since 2007, and his employer, a manufacturing company in Fremont, did not know he did not have one.

Apparently, DeMonte said, Tea still was on duty. He was returning from Columbus and had been drinking at a bar in Tiffin. DeMonte said he thinks Tea was lost.

“(He) couldn’t find his way back home,” he said.

The vehicle had been in a crash prior to the pursuit. DeMonte said the vehicle was badly damaged, and Tea admitted to being in an accident but did not know where it happened.

DeMonte said Tea refused a breath test. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant to seize a blood sample, but it had not been tested as of Sunday evening.

There were open containers of alcohol in the car, he said.

The pursuit started around 3 a.m. Sunday, according to a police department report.