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Columbus Police Pursuit Hits 100 Miles Per Hour

Last updated on Friday, March 29, 2013

(COLUMBUS) - A man was drunk when he led police on a high-speed chase that topped 100 mph and included stops at two McDonald’s drive-thrus, authorities said.

Drew Smith of RTV6 reports that Bartholomew County sheriff's deputies were first alerted to a possible intoxicated driver on Interstate 65 after 3 a.m. Thursday.

A short time later, police spotted the vehicle as the driver pulled into a McDonald's parking lot in Taylorsville.

But instead of pulling over, the driver made a quick trip through the drive-thru, dropped a passenger off and then took off, police said.

"I was going to get in trouble anyway, so, you know, I decided to run," the driver James Thornburg, 26, told RTV6 from jail.

Police chased the vehicle northbound on U.S. 31 into Johnson County, with Thornburg reaching speeds of more than 110 mph, police said.

"I think I was going a little faster than that, though," Thornburg said.

The driver then turned around and took U.S. 31 back into Bartholomew County, where his tires were flattened by stop sticks near County Road 450 North, but he continued south through Columbus and into Jackson County, police said.

Thornburg said despite his high speed, he took precautions.

"Every time I saw a car coming toward me, like I literally would go off into the grass," he said.

With the flat tires, the chase slowed to about 40 mph before the vehicle turned into a McDonald's just off U.S. 50, where the driver stopped at the drive-thru speaker and began to place his order, police said.

Thornburg, who is from Georgia, was taken into custody in the parking lot.

"I had a blast. It was just like a video game," Thornburg told deputies, saying he was drunk and thought running from police would be fun, investigators said.

Thornburg's blood-alcohol content tested at 0.16 percent, police said, twice the legal limit to drive in Indiana.

"You see it in movies, in video games and stuff and you know, I actually did it," Thornburg told RTV6. "At least I can say I've been in a high-pursuit chase in my life and it was, it was fun."

Thornburg was preliminarily charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence endangering another person and resisting law enforcement.

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