Driverless car nearly hits teen, winds up in yard

A driverless car rolled out of the Ashland Safeway parking lot and nearly struck a teenage girl on the Fourth of July before crashing through a picket fence and coming to rest in the yard of a bed-and-breakfast.

Police found a man whom they believed to be the driver in a nearby alley after witnesses said he grabbed two satchels and a skateboard out of the car and fled the scene.

Police arrested Jeremy Robert Bondurant, 40, on charges of hit-and-run, reckless endangerment of another person, resisting arrest and interfering with a peace officer.

The crash occurred at about 6 p.m. Witnesses told police they saw the car careen down Sherman Street, nearly run down the teenager, bounce off a parked van, roll across busy East Main Street and crash through a picket fence into the front yard of Anne Hathaway's Cottage, with its rear-end sticking up in the air.

Within minutes of the crash, Ashland police apprehended Bondurant on Golden Spike Way behind the bed-and-breakfast. Bondurant declined to speak to officers and was jailed Wednesday, said Ashland police Sgt. Jim Alderman. The suspect's bags contained only ordinary "personal stuff," Alderman said. Bondurant was jailed on $15,000 bail but had been released by late Thursday.

Court records list Bondurant's address in the 4000 block of Yale Creek Road, Jacksonville. They show he was arrested in May on charges of third-degree theft, reckless driving and possession of methamphetamine, a felony. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The teen girl, who was sobbing as officers interviewed her on East Main, declined to comment, but others described the scary journey of the silver, four-door sedan down the street. Alderman said the car rolled out of the narrow lot on the west side of Safeway and that the teen was standing near the northernmost exit from that lot.

Police don't yet know what caused the car to start rolling, Alderman said.

Police declined to give further details or names of witnesses and the near-victim, saying the case was pending.

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