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Published: Tuesday, 5/16/2006

Providence Township man who threatened authorities captured after 5-hour search


A Providence Township man who threatened authorities led them on a five-hour search yesterday afternoon through a barn, fields, and woods near Bailey Road and State Rt. 295, the Lucas County sheriff s office said.

During the afternoon standoff, Eric L. Huffman, 35, of 11801 Bailey Road, had attempted to hit a deputy with his car, brandished a gun at authorities, attempted to flee, crashed into a barn, fled, and hid in a ditch, Lucas County Sheriff s Detective Rob Sarahman said.

He was charged with two counts of felonious assault, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under suspension, obstructing official business, and tampering with public utilities, Detective Sarahman said. He also was wanted for outstanding misdemeanor warrants, the detective said.

He is being held in the Lucas County jail pending arraignment today in Maumee Municipal Court.

Sheriff s deputies were investigating Mr. Huffman on the tampering with public utilities charge for destroying a phone box in the area. When they caught up with him near his home at 11:30 a.m., he fled, attempting to hit a deputy with his car and pointing a gun at him as he did, Detective Sarahman said.

Mr. Huffman was angry, the detective said, adding that the man s mother told authorities yesterday that her son said he did not want to be arrested and, "if the police try to take him, he s taking them with him."

When he attempted to flee, he drove into the barn on Bailey just east of Route 295. He fled on foot.

By noon, the officers had blocked off the area between Bailey, Perry, and Yawberg roads and State Rt. 295.

Authorities searched the barn, adjacent house, fields, and woods for several hours, assisted by a K-9 unit from the Fulton County sheriff s office and Toledo police s helicopter. Mr. Huffman later told authorities he was hiding in a ditch the whole time, Detective Sarahman said.

After a tip from Toledo Area Metroparks employees who had seen a man matching the description of Mr. Huffman walk into nearby woods,

he was found and arrested at 5:45 p.m., the detective said.

Ohio Highway Patrol and Waterville police also assisted the sheriff s department.

Route 295 reopened to traffic at 4:15 p.m.

"What a tragic situation it could of been, but nobody was hurt," Detective Sarahman said. "It could have been a bad situation here."

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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