MURRAY CITY — In addition to the annual fireworks show in the Village of Murray City, residents also had a front row seat to an incident that occurred earlier in the day, resulting in the arrest of a 26-year-old Glouster man.

Residents watched in disbelief as a male driving a large John Deere forklift front-end loader flipped a vehicle over on its side on Main Street in the Village. According to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, the incident occurred on Saturday.

Witnesses told HCSO that the loader fled north on state Route 216 after flipping the vehicle over, and struck another vehicle in its path as it sped away. A witness followed the male driving the front-end loader, which pulled into the Murray Timber and Log Company. The operator then fled on foot into the wooded area.

Deputies from HCSO and troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded and began searching for the suspect, identified as Carl H. Williams III, of Glouster, who was quickly apprehended without incident.

Williams admitted to deputies he stole the front-end loader, valued between $60,000 and $80,000 from the logging company, where he was an employee. Allegedly he also confessed to purposely damaging the car he flipped, which belongs to a female acquaintance of his.

Williams is charged with theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, and was transported to Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail to await his arraignment in Hocking County Municipal Court. Williams was arraigned on Monday morning with the case being dismissed for future indictment.

Additional charges for criminal damaging, leaving the scene of an accident, and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol are likely to be presented to the Hocking Grand Jury at a later date.

A fourth-degree felony is punishable up to 18 months in prison with a $5,000 fine.

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