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Truck driver faces kidnapping charge after wild chase

The truck driver arrested over the weekend after a wild chase in his tractor-trailer — and just the trailer at one point — is being held in a Cincinnati-area jail on a $275,000 bond, according to local news reports.

Patrick Berthelot has been held in the Hamilton County Justice Center since his arrest late Saturday afternoon, according to WCPO, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, which said the charge against him for now is the kidnapping of his wife, although police are reportedly looking at other charges. 

One news report described the chase as “hours long” and taking place on Interstate 275 in the Cincinnati area.

Berthelot is reported as being 40 years old and from Alabama. News reports said he was at first driving a tractor with a trailer hookup but later dumped the trailer. Various videos of the chase show Berthelot driving a full rig as well as just the bobtailing tractor.

Police deployed stop sticks, which did flatten a tire. But Berthelot kept on driving with his wife in the cab, at times heading the wrong way down the highway.  

It was ultimately a rifle shot with a .50-caliber bullet into the engine block of the truck, creating a loss of oil, that brought it to a stop.

In a transcript and audio recording of the 911 call, apparently placed by his wife, she sounds  frantic and says she is injured. Berthelot is heard offering to release her. 

“I just want her to be safe and I already know how this is going to turn out,” Berthelot is heard saying in the 911 call. 

When asked by the dispatcher why he wouldn’t release his wife, Berthelot replies, “The problem is this: I’m facing 20 years in prison and I’m not going to go down without a fight. The police are going to have to kill me. This is a plan called suicide by cop.” 

During the back and forth with the dispatcher, Berthelot also accuses his wife, who can be heard in the background, of cheating.

The news reports said after the truck stopped as a result of the oil leak created by the bullet to the engine block, Berthelot got out of the truck with a knife to his neck. He was tasered before being arrested.

There was no indication in any of the news reports what Berthelot might have been facing prison time for and his reference to a looming 20-year term.

Video of the truck does not show any markings indicating that he was driving for a particular employer. 

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.