Ottumwa Man Accused of Tossing Drugs, Sideswiping Deputy During Chase

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An Ottumwa man faces multiple charges after authorities say he led officials on a chase while throwing drugs out of his vehicle.

30-year-old Juan Bethancourt has been charged with eluding, possession of a controlled substance – third or subsequent violation, assault while participating in a felony, and operating while under the influence.

At approximately 1:21 AM on May 19, court records say a deputy from the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office attempted to pull over a vehicle on North Davis Street in Ottumwa due to a tail light not working.

Law enforcement says Bethancourt failed to pull over and a pursuit ensued in which speeds reached 40 miles over the speed limit. Bethancourt ran several stop signs and threw objects out of the window that was later identified as marijuana products. The products allegedly recovered were a half-gram THC cartridge, THC wax, and a marijuana plant.

The deputy claims he was able to get his law enforcement vehicle in front of Bethancourt’s car but Bethancourt sideswiped the deputy’s vehicle to temporarily escape.

The chase spanned 30 miles and came to an end on Highway 34 near Albia when the Ottumwa Police Department laid stop strips on the ground to stop Bethancourt’s vehicle.

Bethancourt was arrested and transported to the Wapello County Jail. His bond has been set at $16,000.

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