July 31, 2014

Elyria
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Officer in crash may have been speeding

VERMILION – The Vermilion police officer injured in a weekend crash may have been speeding when a vehicle turned into his path.

Officer Scott Holmes, 36, fractured his sternum when his cruiser collided with a station wagon shortly before 8 p.m. He is out of the hospital recovering from the injury, and will likely miss several weeks of work.

The station wagon, driven by Eric Scoles, 28, of Vermilion, was traveling on Elberta Road when it made an illegal turn onto Liberty Avenue into the path of Holmes` cruiser, which was heading west, police said.

Vermilion police Chief Bob Kish said that Holmes was attempting to catch up with a vehicle that had run a stop sign but had not yet turned on his cruiser`s lights and sirens when the crash occurred.

He added that a “black box,” which records the cruiser`s speed is still being investigated along with other factors that may have led to the crash.

Footage from the cruiser`s dash cam was unavailable, Kish said, because the camera only turns on when the cruiser`s lights and sirens are activated.

“Normal protocol is to try to catch up to the vehicle, but at a reasonable speed,” Kish said. “(Officer Holmes) may have been slightly above the speed limit, but nothing indicates that was excessive.”

Holmes has been with the department for almost six years, working exclusively as a patrolman.

During that time, he was involved in another automobile accident where he was cited. Two years ago, Holmes collided with a vehicle he was trying to pass in an attempt to catch up to a traffic violator.

In a search warrant filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, police claim they have probable cause to believe Scoles, the driver of the station wagon, was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.

Herbert Edward, 28, of Vermilion, was a passenger in the station wagon and remains in critical condition in MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

The crash remains under investigation.

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.