Jennings County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested two teenagers on felony arson charges after firefighters were sent to a mobile home fire in Country Squire Lakes.
The fire was reported at 10:22 a.m. Wednesday, and witnesses told deputies they saw a silver Jeep Liberty speeding away from the scene.
Deputy Drew Heilers saw the vehicle and attempted to stop it, but the Jeep took off at a high rate of speed. After a short vehicle pursuit, the vehicle ran off of the roadway and crashed, and the occupants fled on foot, deputies said.
Deputies took a female passenger, Delaney Smith, 18, of North Vernon, into custody. North Vernon police officers, who were assisting, took the driver, Mikell Hardesty, 19, of North Vernon, into custody.
A small fire under the mobile home extinguished itself after the fire burned into water lines under the mobile home, deputies said. Neighbors who witnessed the fire were able to contact a mother and small child in the mobile home, who then evacuated.
The state fire marshal is assisting with the investigation.
Hardesty was arrested on preliminary charges of felony arson, felony resisting law enforcement, misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and felony possession of methamphetamine. He was being held in the Jennings County Jail in lieu of $25,500 bond.
Smith was arrested on preliminary charges of felony arson, misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and felony obstruction of justice. She is being held in the Jennings County Jail in lieu of $25,500 bond.
Read the story in Friday’s edition of The Tribune and online at tribtown.com.