WELLSVILLE - A woman was charged Wednesday by village police with inducing panic after falsely indicating she needed help.
Police Lieutenant Marsha Eisenhart charged Dawn Oliver, 42, of Marion, after a 911 call routed through Jefferson County at 12:39 p.m. indicated a woman was holding a sign up in a vehicle window, declaring, "Help me."
An ex-military police officer happened to be driving past the northbound vehicle on state Route 7 when he saw the woman passenger with the sign.
He sped up in an attempt to see inside the vehicle, causing the driver of that car to also speed up, according to Eisenhart, who said they were traveling in excess of 90 miles per hour at that point.
The former military officer called 911 and followed the car off the Clark Avenue exit, where three Wellsville cruisers had responded. The car was stopped at 19th and Clark streets.
Eisenhart said the driver, who she did not identify, had no idea why he was being followed by the other car and also was unaware his passenger was holding up the distress sign.
"We got her out of the car. She thought it was funny," Eisenhart said.
The charge is a misdemeanor, and Oliver was released to the driver, who was not charged with anything.
The former military officer "was trying to be a good citizen," Eisenhart said.
Oliver will appear in Magistrate Court April 25.