YORK – A plea agreement has been reached in York County involving motor vehicle theft and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest.
Austin E. Renschler, 28, of York (who is currently in custody with the Nebraska Department of Corrections) changed his plea to one count and others were dismissed in return.
This case began as a lieutenant with the York County Sheriff’s Department was on routine patrol, westbound on County Road 12, when he passed a vehicle bearing 10-County license plates.
Because the vehicle did not seem to fit in that remote area of the county, the lieutenant turned around to get the complete license plate information and caught up to the vehicle in the area of Road S and Road 12 where he saw it was pulled over to the side of the road.
The lieutenant says, in court documents, that he saw a man on a phone, who then turned around and looked at him through the back window of the vehicle.
“The driver then put the vehicle in gear and sped off, eastbound on Road 12,” the lieutenant’s report says. “It violated the stop sign at Road S and sped up to approximately 70 mph in the 50 mph zone.”
The lieutenant called in the plate number and remembered the York Police Department had a report of a gas drive-off earlier in the evening and the description matched the vehicle he was following.
A pursuit began and the vehicle continued east across Road T and then Road U, “where it slowed and the driver steered the vehicle off the road, across the grass, and around a church located at 2202 Road 12. The driver shut off his lights and drove around the rear of the church in an attempt to hide and became high centered on a large pile of dirt. There he abandoned the vehicle and ran on foot. (The lieutenant) located the vehicle behind the church and called for additional units. (The lieutenant) ran in the VIN on the motorcycle (which was in the back of the pickup) and it came back as a stolen vehicle, as did the pickup.
“Located in the vehicle were numerous two-inch square plastic baggies commonly used to sell narcotics and hypodermic needles, one of which was filled with what is believed to be blood,” the lieutenant’s account details. “The driver was later located hiding in a hay pile by the Nebraska State Patrol air wing and K9 units. The subject, Renschler, admitted to being the driver of the vehicle.”
It was found that Renschler had an active warrant in Hamilton County and from the Nebraska Department of Corrections. It was also noted that Renschler had a suspended driver’s license.
Charges against Renschler included a Class 4 felony which carries a possible maximum sentence of two years in prison and 12 months of post-release supervision, as well as operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, which is also a Class 4 felony, thereby carrying the same level of possible sentencing, upon conviction. He was also charged with willful reckless driving and driving under suspension, both being misdemeanors.