UTICA — A Canton man was arrested Thursday after robbing a man at gunpoint and trying to elude Licking County law enforcement officers.
According to a report released Thursday evening by the Licking County Sheriff’s Office, Benjamin Blackwell, 23, approached a man working on farm equipment near the intersection of Smoketown Road and Lake Fork Drive to ask for directions. Blackwell left and then returned with a firearm and demanded the victim’s wallet, the report stated. After handing over his wallet, the victim called 9-1-1 and reported the suspect was traveling north on Smoketown Road in a red Ford F-150.
According to the report, law enforcement officers recognized the truck heading southbound on Ohio 13.
“As deputies turned on the vehicle in an attempt to verify the vehicle’s involvement in the robbery, the driver immediately began to pass other vehicles traveling southbound on [Ohio] 13 on double yellow lines and attempted to avoid the responding units,” the report stated.
Blackwell then led law enforcement on a chase through a residential neighborhood, just north of Vanatta, where Blackwell was observed driving through yards “in an extremely dangerous manner.”
Law enforcement used stop sticks to try to apprehend Blackwell, who continued to ignore the responding units. The suspect lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree near the intersection of Cypress Bend and Flamingo Drive. Blackwell was then taken into custody.
He was transported to Licking Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
Blackwell has been charged with aggravated robbery and felony fleeing. Additional charges are possible as the investigation continues.