Reportedly drunk Ithaca man flees the scene after car accident involving Chief of Police

June 12, 2014

Ithaca police chief John Barber suffered minor injuries in an accident Thursday afternoon in which the other driver fled the scene after apologizing. Police are actively searching for Christopher Rundt, the 23-year-old Ithaca resident who's been identified as the driver.

A Subaru involved in an accident with IPD Chief Barber on Thursday. Photo provided by IPD.A Subaru involved in an accident with IPD Chief Barber on Thursday. Photo provided by IPD.Police say Chief Barber was driving east on West Clinton Street near the intersection of South Plain Street when an oncoming westbound vehicle turned into the eastbound lane and struck the unmarked IPD vehicle Barber was driving head on. Chief Barber exited the vehicle and was approached by the other driver, who apologized for hitting him. Chief Barber called 911 to report the accident and began locating witnesses, and he soon turned around to discover the other driver and a female passenger had fled the area on foot.

The vehicle that hit Chief Barber's SUV was a 2000 Subaru registered to an uninvolved third party, police say. An opened bottle of rum was discovered in the front seat of the Subaru, and witnesses told investigating officers that when Rundt got out of the vehicle, he appeared to be intoxicated.

Christopher Rundt, wanted following a hit-and-run accident Thursday. Photo provided.Christopher Rundt, wanted following a hit-and-run accident Thursday. Photo provided.Police believe the female passenger was Ashley Woodward, and would like to speak with her about the accident as well as check her well-being following a serious accident in which both vehicles are considered a likely total loss. Chief Barber was treated at the scene for minor injuries and did not seek further medical treatment.

Criminal charges are pending against Rundt, who's been identified as being on parole through New York State.

IPD asks that anyone with information that might aid their investigation contact police dispatch at 607-272-3245, the administration line at 607-272-9973, the Crimestoppers Tipline at 607-697-0333, or the anonymous online tip form.

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