September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Man accused of trying to run over 2 people on sidewalk

LORAIN — Police arrested a 70-year-old Vermilion man Monday who allegedly tried to run over two people with his vehicle.

At 10:31 p.m. Monday, police were sent to Oberlin and West Erie avenues for a man who was reportedly chasing a woman down the street. Police met with the alleged victim, Caroline Mitchell, who said a friend, David Willing, 70, of Vermilion, had accused her of stealing $5 from him and then followed her down the street.

Mitchell said Willing was giving her a ride home, but she got out of the vehicle when they began arguing over the $5 he said she stole from him.

She said her neighbor, Fredrick Hardnett, was riding his bicycle in the area and stopped to talk to them.

Hardnett said he confronted Willing, who was threatening Mitchell, and Willing then threatened to get out a gun. Hardnett told police Willing drove onto the sidewalk, striking Hardnett’s hand and his bicycle, which he ran over with the car.

Police said Hardnett had several layers of skin removed from his hand, but he declined medical attention.

Officers located Willing’s Ford Ranger and tire tracks on the sidewalk near Oberlin and West Erie avenues. A bicycle hand grip and parts of a vehicle were also found at the scene.

Officers met with Willing at his home, and Willing admitted to running over the bicycle with his vehicle. He denied hitting Hardnett, however.

Willing said Hardnett threatened him and told him he had a gun. He told officers he drove about half a mile before realizing the bicycle was underneath his vehicle.

Willing said Mitchell was a friend but would not elaborate on the friendship, according to a police report. He was arrested and charged with felonious assault.

Police said Willing had no prior convictions. He was arraigned Tuesday at Lorain Municipal Court, where he entered a plea of not guilty.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.