Felony charges filed against pair caught hiding in Dayton sewer pipe

Charges were filed Thursday against an armed man and woman who are accused of fleeing a traffic stop late Tuesday morning and going into the Stillwater River before they were caught hiding in a drainage pipe during subfreezing weather conditions.

Bethany Marie Allen, 25, and James Kenneth Donnelly, 42, both of Harrison Twp., were arraigned Thursday afternoon in Dayton Municipal Court for inducing panic and obstructing justice, both felony charges. Donnelly also is charged with having a weapon under disability.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies initiated a traffic stop at 11:09 a.m. Tuesday for a tan minivan on for a moving violation. The deputy recognized the front seat passenger, identified as Donnelly, and knew he had a warrant, according to an affidavit filed in Dayton Municipal Court.

“Donnelly caused the vehicle to accelerate forward before fleeing from the vehicle with a gun in his left hand. The rear seat female passenger, Bethany Allen, fled with Donnelly,” the affidavit stated.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said as they fled that Donnelly made statements they were not going back to prison.

The East Siebenthaler Avenue bridge was shut down for about three hours after the pair went into the water.

“The individuals went into the river, across the river,” Streck said. “They actually went down for a few seconds, they started to call for a water rescue. They came back up and they were able to get across to (the west) side of the river.”

A SWAT team was called, and deputies along with Dayton police officers searched the area surrounding the river for the suspects. The Dayton Fire Department used thermal imaging cameras in the search.

After hours of searching, Dayton Water Department robots checking pipes — normally used to look for clogs — found them hiding in a storm sewer pipe under Kathleen Avenue at the Sandhurst Drive intersection. They were more than a block from the river.

Allen was the first to emerge from the manhole. Donnelly was pulled up about 45 minutes later, after deputies ordered him several times to drop his gun.

Both were taken to Miami Valley Hospital to be checked because they were outside and wet while the temperature hovered around 30 degrees.

Allen and Donnelly, who are both scheduled to return to court on March 24, remain held in the Montgomery County Jail.

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