14-year-old charged after running away, stealing van, and causing minor accident


The Bellefontaine Police Department responded to a report of a stolen vehicle Friday morning. The van, a 2015 Ram ProMaster, had been parked at a residence on the 700 block of East Columbus Avenue the night prior, unlocked and with the keys inside.

The van was found parked in a driveway on the 800 block of West Columbus Avenue. There was damage to the passenger side, including a missing fog light cover.

A purple and green four-wheeler was parked behind, with its front bumper tied to the van by a rope. The four-wheeler matched the description of a vehicle that a missing juvenile had reportedly used to run away earlier that morning.

At around 1:30 pm, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office notified the police department that they had the suspect, James Cooper, 14, of West Liberty, at their facility.

Cooper told police that he drove away on the four-wheeler because he had been upset and wanted to see his mom. He stated that his four-wheeler broke down, so he tied it to the back of a nearby van and dragged it back into town.

He admitted to hitting both a street sign and mailbox, then driving off. Evidence of the accident was found on the 400 block of West Street.

Cooper stated that, after leaving the van and four-wheeler, he spent the day walking around in the woods. His guardians located and brought him to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was cited with leaving the scene after an accident, operating a vehicle without a valid operator’s license, and failure to control, then transported to the Central Ohio Youth Center.