North Vernon teens face arson charges

Two North Vernon teens are facing arson and other charges after a Wednesday morning incident. The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department says that they responded to a residential fire in Country Squire Lakes at about 10:22 a.m. While deputies were responding, dispatch advised that witnesses saw a silver Jeep Liberty speeding away from the scene.

Upon arrival, a deputy saw the Jeep leaving the area. He tried to stop the vehicle, which allegedly sped away. After a short chase, the Jeep ran off the roadway and crashed, leading three people inside to flee on foot. Deputies were able to take a passenger, 19-year-old Delaney Smith, into custody. North Vernon Police, who had also responded to the area, were able to arrest the driver, 18-year-old Mikell Hardesty. A third suspect, believed to be a juvenile, was not apprehended.

Investigators say a small fire under a mobile home had extinguished itself after the fire burnt into water lines under the home. Neighbors were able to make contact with a mother and small child who then evacuated the home. No injuries were reported.

Hardesty is facing the following charges:
Arson- Level 4 Felony
Resisting Law Enforcement – Level 6 Felony
Resisting Law Enforcement – A Misdemeanor
Possession of Meth- Level 6 Felony

Smith is charged with:
Arson- Level 4 Felony
Resisting Law Enforcement- A Misdemeanor
Obstruction of Justice- Level 6 Felony

Hardesty and Smith are each being held on $25,500 bond.