By GARY POPP
NEW ALBANY — A New Albany man was arrested Friday after robbing a cash drawer from Walgreens and leading police on a pursuit that ended with him ramming a vehicle into a New Albany Police Department cruiser, police say.
Kenneth Ralston, 39, of 207 Virginia Court, had been at Walgreens located at 2015 State St. about 2:30 p.m., New Albany Police Maj. Keith Whitlow said. Ralston approached the front counter of the business with merchandise, Whitlow said, and demanded the clerk to “open the drawer.” The clerk refused to comply to his demand and Ralston reached over the counter and took the cash drawer from the register, Whitlow said.
Police reported that video surveillance later showed Ralston wrestling the cash drawer from the employee’s hands.
Authorities were alerted to the crime, Ralston’s physical description and the description of a green Ford Explorer he was seen driving from the Walgreens parking lot. Whitlow said a vehicle matching the description was almost immediately located by street officers at the nearby intersection of Captain Frank and Valley View roads.
Officers attempted a traffic stop, but the driver refused to pull over and fled at a high rate of speed, according to a probable-cause affidavit. A nearly two-mile vehicular pursuit ensued and came to end at West Main and West Sixth streets.
“The pursuit went until he [Ralston] got caught up in traffic,” Whitlow said.
Before Ralston was placed under arrest, he drove his vehicle into a NAPD patrol car. Whitlow said backup officers arrived on the scene, and Ralston was removed from his vehicle.
During an interview with officers after his arrest, Ralston admitted to forcibly taking the cash drawer from Walgreens. He told officers he needed the money because of financial problems.
He was later charged in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1 with robbery, a class C felony, and resisting law enforcement — use of vehicle to commit offense, a class D felony.
Ralston remained in the Floyd County Jail on Monday evening.