Two men led police in pursuit near downtown
ELYRIA — Police searched Sunday night for two men who led authorities on a chase before crashing a black pickup on Seventh Street and jumping from the truck, which careened up the road without a driver.
Elyria Police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said information about the suspects would be released along with a full report. No arrests were made as of late Sunday.
Elaina Faught, 37, screamed for her boxer Petey to get into the house when she saw the Dodge Ram 1500 powering up the hill with no driver behind the wheel.
The sight shocked neighbor Tom Merrell, 37, who abandoned his grill and ran to his front yard.
“We saw the truck coming up the street with nobody in it, and this police officer got in front of it trying to stop it,” he said.
Elyria Patrolman Todd Straub was able to slow the truck with his body, but not before it dinged the side of a car owned by Ashley Robertson, 17, who was eating barbecue with the Merrill family at about 7:30 p.m.
Eichenlaub said Straub “took action so no person was hurt and to minimize damage.”
The drama began earlier when a chase ensued on Fuller Road outside the Wilkes Villa housing project, according to Eichenlaub.
Officers watching the complex spotted suspicious activity and suspected drugs were involved, Eichenlaub said.
Police attempted to stop the Dodge Ram as it drove out of the housing complex, he said.
The truck stopped, but then took off again after the police officers got out of their car.
The same thing happened — an apparent stop — and then a quick acceleration, as police followed the truck south on Middle Avenue, according to Eichenlaub.
Sheriff’s deputies and the Ohio Highway Patrol joined in the chase as the truck went west on Butternut Ridge Road and north on Grafton Road.
Eichenlaub said Elyria police called off the chase as the truck passed Fuller Road and headed toward town.
“They are constantly evaluating the situation,” he said.
He said he could not estimate speeds involved in the chase until the investigation is completed.
Witnesses told police items were tossed from the truck in the area of the Elyria Airport as the truck approached Carlisle Township, according to police scanner traffic.
When the truck crashed at Seventh and East Avenue, deputies and Elyria police jumped from their cars to give chase on foot or speeded to nearby streets in hopes of capturing the suspects.
It scared Cindy Jordan who had just put her four grandchildren, ages 2 to 8, into her van parked on Fifth Street.
“I saw these four police officers, and one did this U-turn with dirt flying in the air,” she said. “It was just like in the movies.”
Forty minutes later, Jordan was still frightened and hoped the culprits could be caught.
“This could happen anywhere,” she said.
Faught, who lives on Seventh Street, said it was the most excitement since a bank robber led a chase up her street before crashing into Loomis Camera a number of years ago.
“People were running up the street trying to grab stuff flying from the car,” she said. “Maybe it was money.”
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.