Police: New Southern Regional K-9 helps nab fleeing suspect

Southern Regional Police K-9 Ransom helped arrest a fleeing suspect for state police in Chanceford Township Thursday, Aug. 8. Photo courtesy of Southern Regional Police.

Southern Regional Police's K-9 wasn't even on duty a full week when he was called to help track a fleeing suspect for state police, according to authorities.

State police had chased Tesla Marle Wetzel, 23, to a cornfield in Chanceford Township the night of Thursday, Aug. 8, charging documents state.

When she fled into the cornfield, troopers called for assistance from both a police K-9 and a state police helicopter, according to police.

Southern Regional Chief James Boddington said the department's newly sworn in K-9 Ransom was called to the scene.

“It was his first call out and he tracked this person down," Boddington said.

She had run about a half mile into the cornfield, according to police.

Wetzel, of no fixed address, was charged with agricultural crop destruction, flight to avoid apprehension and fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, all of which are felonies, and misdemeanor offenses of DUI, recklessly endangering another person resisting arrest and multiple summary traffic offenses.

At the time of her arrest, she was wanted on a forgery charge from Manchester Township, according to court records.

Tesla Wetzel

Tried to pull over: A trooper tried to pull Wetzel over while she was driving north on Route 74 in Chanceford Township just before 9 p.m. that day, police said.

Wetzel was driving with a suspended registration because her insurance had been canceled, according to court documents.

The trooper tried to pull her over at a nearby Rutter's, but police said she didn't stop and instead turned right onto Gumtree Road.

She then led troopers on a chase from Pomraning Road, Lucky Road, Canning House Road and New Bridgeville Road before continuing onto Furnace Road, police said.

Wetzel was driving at speeds up to 80 mph and would drive into oncoming traffic while fleeing from police, according to charging documents.

Police said she abruptly stopped and drove about 100 yards into a cornfield near Gipe Road. Wetzel got out of the car and fled, leaving her passenger for police, court documents allege.

Wetzel jumped out of the car while it was moving, according to authorities.

Her passenger told police she was just hitching a ride from Wetzel and she did not know her name, police said. The passenger told authorities she asked Wetzel to stop fleeing during the chase, according to charging documents.

More:Southern Regional Police raising funds for K-9

Hid: Police then called for assistance from a state police helicopter and a K-9.

Ransom tracked her about a half mile into the cornfield, according to Southern Regional Police.

With help from the helicopter, troopers took Wetzel into custody but not without difficulty, police said.

Wetzel tensed her body up during her arrest, causing troopers to use "reasonable force" on her, according to charging documents, which don't state what that force entailed.

She also had the smell of alcohol on her breath, police said. Wetzel admitted to drinking three to four beers that night, court documents state.

Wetzel was arraigned on her charges the morning of Friday, Aug. 9. She was sent to York County Prison on $75,000 bail. She does not have an attorney listed.

Ransom, Southern Regional's K-9, was purchased following a fundraising effort from the department that began in February.

Southern Regional Chief Boddington said Ransom had just completed his training and was sworn in the night of Wednesday, Aug. 7.

“He did a good job," Boddington said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.