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Man charged after driving off in police cruiser

A 34-year-old man who briefly stole a city police cars faces multiple charges after he crashed the cruiser just after midnight Thursday, Police Chief Herbert Blake said.

Officer Zeffrey Childress was on patrol at 12:37 a.m. traveling west on Fourth Avenue when he saw a male jumping on the hood of a moving white van, seemingly attempting to damage the van or to force entry as it was traveling southbound on Church Street. The van abruptly stopped, throwing the suspect onto the street. When Childress got out of his vehicle to try to discern exactly what was happening, the male suspect suddenly and quickly ran towards the officer shouting incoherently that he was being “chased by people or some things.” The suspect ran to the officer’s car, was able to get into the car and drive off before he could be subdued by the officer.

Officers used the city's GPS system to locate the car. They found it wrecked on Fourth Avenue West at Jordan Street in the Hendersonville city limits. The suspect was also found nearby and arrested. Charged was Julius L. Hodges, 34, of Dumfries, Virginia. While being arrested, Hodges continued to shout incoherently. An investigation of the initial altercation between the suspect and the driver of the van continues. Hodges has been charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, assault on a government official inflicting injury, assault on a government official, resist obstruct and delay, injury to personal property and driving while impaired.