9/1/20 Hillsdale, MI – Parole Absconder In Handcuffs Steals Patrol Car After Breaking Partition – Pursuit – Crashed Patrol Car In Woods – Breaks Into Home – Barricades – Chemical Agents Used – Captured

September 1, 2020


A parole absconder, wanted on outstanding warrants, is once again behind bars pending arraignment today in the 2B District Court on a number of new criminal allegations.

Jonah Roland Johnston, 43, absconded from parole on May 26, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Tracking Information System.

The Hillsdale City Police Department caught up to Johnston early Tuesday morning when officers were dispatched to a report of suspicious activity at Cherry Tree Lane Apartments on the corner of Barr Street and Fayette Street in Hillsdale.

Officers were initially able to get Johnston into custody and place him in the back of a patrol car after identifying him as an absconder. While they continued their investigation outside the car, Johnston managed to slip his handcuffs to the front and either kicked out or punched out the plexiglass barricade giving him access to the front of the vehicle. He then took off with officers pursuing in other patrol vehicles.

Johnston went down Barr Street to Spring Street and turned onto Stony Ridge Court—a dead end — where he went off-road behind a home and crashed the patrol car in a wooded area. He then managed to take off on foot through the woods toward Fairview Avenue and made his way a short distance to a known associate’s home in the 100 block of Spring Street where he broke into the home and barricaded himself in the basement with police trailing.

Officers from the HCPD, Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police and Jonesville Police Department converged on the area and surrounded the home before entering with an MSP K-9 unit where they discovered Johnston.

Chemical agents were deployed to bring Johnston back into custody safely and he was transported to the Hillsdale County Jail.

Johnston was lodged on the parole absconder charge and an active warrant for possession of methamphetamine and manufacture of methamphetamine.

He is facing additional charges of fleeing police, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, destruction of police property, breaking and entering, resisting arrest, a weapons offense and a parole violation.