It took a sniper to stop semi driver during pursuit. He's now serving a 7-year sentence

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The driver of a semitractor-trailer who led police on a highway pursuit through three counties on Interstate 275 and tried to strike multiple officers has been sentenced to seven years in prison, newly filed court documents show.

Patrick Berthelot, 41, pleaded guilty last week in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to attempted felonious assault, failing to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and abduction.

The nearly three-hour pursuit on July 18, 2020, ended when officials said a Cincinnati police sniper using a .50-caliber rifle shot the semi’s engine block, disabling it.

Prosecutors said Berthelot held his wife hostage in the cab during the pursuit, which went through Butler, Clermont and Hamilton counties.

An Ohio Department of Transportation camera shows Patrick Berthelot standing outside his semitractor-trailer on Interstate 275 on July 18, 2020.
An Ohio Department of Transportation camera shows Patrick Berthelot standing outside his semitractor-trailer on Interstate 275 on July 18, 2020.

Also according to prosecutors, Berthelot tried to drive into three officers as they were putting down “stop sticks along his route” as well as a fourth officer in his cruiser. The fourth officer had to leave the highway to avoid being hit.

Berthelot made a 911 call during the pursuit, saying police would have to kill him. He also accused his wife of cheating on him

When asked why he wouldn’t stop, he told a dispatcher: “The problem is this: I’m facing 20 years in prison, and I’m not going to go down without a fight."

Eventually, he released his wife, and I-275 on the Ohio side of the Combs-Hehl bridge was closed so the sniper could shoot the engine block.

On May 17, records say Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway imposed a sentence that had been agreed upon as part of the plea.

Berthelot also faces probation violation charges in Alabama. In 2012, he was accused of shooting a 26-year-old woman in the back twice and then fleeing the scene. He pleaded guilty in Tuscaloosa County to a domestic violence charge and was sentenced to five years in prison.

He was released in 2017, but an arrest warrant was issued in October 2019, after Tuscaloosa County probation authorities said he hadn’t reported to a probation officer in two years.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: It took a sniper to stop semi driver. He's now serving 7-year sentence