A man who fled law enforcement in a high-speed chase earlier this year was sentenced to prison during a sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Chad M. Rittenhouse, 29, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison during a lengthy hearing that was a continuation of a sentencing hearing from Aug. 26.
Rittenhouse was the driver in a Jan. 20 high-speed chase in Mechanicsburg after he was stopped by a police officer for an active warrant from Madison County for aggravated trespassing. As law enforcement pursued him, Rittenhouse reportedly drove at speeds of 50 mph in a 20 mph zone close to when school was letting out, passed multiple vehicles, traveled at 90 mph and went head-on with on-coming traffic.
After pleading guilty to failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer in April, Rittenhouse was accused of multiple bond violations and was charged with two fourth-degree felony charges of failure to appear as required by recognizance for failing to show up at two hearings.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rittenhouse pleaded guilty to one count of failure to appear as required by recognizance and the other charge was dismissed.
Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi asked for the maximum consecutive sentence in both cases saying that Rittenhouse’s multiple violations demonstrated an inability and unwillingness to follow orders. Talebi added it was “a miracle” no one was hurt and that Rittenhouse did not hurt himself in the high-speed pursuit.
The court found Rittenhouse guilty of violating his bond Wednesday for failing to appear at a pre-sentence investigation interview on April 28. Judge Nick Selvaggio stated the court recognized that Rittenhouse did complete the interview on a later date, but noted he failed to appear at the interview when he was ordered to.
The court previously found Rittenhouse guilty of other bond violations during the Aug. 26 hearing including failure to be a law abiding citizen for two driving under suspension violations and for trespassing at a Champaign County deputy’s residence. During the trespassing incident, Rittenhouse reportedly approached a patrol vehicle parked in the deputy’s driveway and extended his middle finger as he posed for a picture next to the sheriff’s emblem.
Rittenhouse stated Wednesday that he was not intending to flip off the deputy but instead the person who took the photo.
Throughout the hearing Rittenhouse discussed the challenges he has faced as a heroin user. Rittenhouse said while using heroin he became a monster and later said he was out of his mind and lost control of himself during the chase with law enforcement.
In addition to the prison sentence, Rittenhouse was also fined $2,750 and had his driver’s license suspended for seven years. Upon his release, Rittenhouse faces up to three years of post release control.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.