ELKHART — An Elkhart man is accused of forcing a woman into a vehicle before intentionally crashing into a tree.
Howard Williamson, 28, is charged with criminal confinement with a vehicle, a Level 5 felony, following the alleged incident Tuesday.
He also faces misdemeanor charges of domestic battery, criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident.
He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional facility on $10,000 bond. His initial hearing is set for Oct. 25.
A Level 5 felony carries a punishment of up to six years in prison.
According to court documents:
An Elkhart Police officer spoke with a woman just before 4 p.m., who said her daughter was battered by Williamson and that he had intentionally crashed into a tree with her daughter in the vehicle. The daughter then arrived, visibly shaken and injured, and described the alleged incident.
Her injuries included bruising under one eye and on her chest. She said she had gone to Williamson’s West Marion Street apartment to pick up some money, but he told her to leave.
As she was leaving, he chased after her and told her she couldn’t leave, according to the woman. She said he tackled her outside then punched her in the face and chest.
Williamson then got into a 2008 Saturn Aura and demanded she get in the passenger seat. He allegedly threatened to kill her when she refused, so she got in.
He took off down the street at high speed and drove straight into a tree, according to the woman. She said the impact caused her to hit her head on the visor, but didn’t leave any visible marks.
She said Williamson then drove back to his apartment.
The woman became uncooperative at that point of her contact with the officers, refusing to give any further information and saying she didn’t want charges filed against Williamson, according to police.
Officers found and arrested Williamson, who insisted the incident with the woman was a verbal argument only. He also mentioned colliding with something that he thought was a pole.
Williamson pointed out the Saturn parked behind his residence. Officers noted that it had heavy front end damage with pieces of wood still embedded in the bumper, and found a tree nearby that appeared to be recently damaged.
They were also able to trace the path the vehicle took down the street by following a trail of fluid that leaked from the engine.