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Mother Leads Police on Chase from Cleveland to Columbus

COLUMBUS (Rob Wells/Kate Liebers) -- A mother's mental health was analyzed after she led police on a two-hour chase with her two young children in the car.

Maria Helbling, 37, was apprehended Saturday night in Grove City after making alarming remarks.

"She was asking about Jesus Christ and said that she was going to see the devil," Trooper Josh Barry said.

She had been visiting relatives in Stow, just outside of Cleveland, when she apparently abruptly decided to drive back to Georgia, where she lives with her son and daughter.

Concerned, her family called police.

"I know that she believed the end of the world was near and other things is what she was telling our communications center and her family," Barry said. 

Ohio State Patrol used cell phone signals to track her vehicle and spoke with her on the phone. Still, the driver refused to stop.

"She was very rigid, looking straight ahead," Barry said. "Her speed (was) about 65 miles per hour. She didn't speed up or slow down, didn't acknowledge their presence."

Troopers said she drove her minivan to Cambridge and then Columbus. Officers eventually used a stop stick to end the chase at US 62 near Grove City.

Barry said officers found the kids, ages four and seven years old, crying in the back seat.

The children were safe and were placed in the care of their Columbus relatives. Helbling was taken to Ohio State University for psychological evaluation.

No charges were immediately filed, police said.

 
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