ELYRIA — Two individuals fleeing the State Highway Patrol in a stolen car lost control overnight and crashed into the gymnasium of the Elyria Boys & Girls Club.
"They were going at a high rate of speed, and they lost control, drove through our playground, went airborne and ended up in our gym," according to Bobby Taylor, director of operations at the club.
According to the Highway Patrol, troopers were advised at 1:36 a.m. by Elyria police to be on the lookout for a gray Dodge Stratus with a defective headlight that was involved in an assault on Concord Ave. The vehicle had been reported stolen, and the female driver was reportedly driving under the influence, according to the patrol.
A state trooper spotted the vehicle at Broad Street and Middle Avenue but was unable to stop it.
A pursuit ensued down Middle for just over a mile before the driver lost control, striking a rubber playground barrier, playground equipment and, eventually, the building.
The driver, Toni Ann Metelsky, 21, of Elyria, received incapacitating injuries, and the front-seat passenger, Robert Dillon Donaldson, 20, received non-incapacitating injuries. Both were taken to EMH Elyria Medical Center and then transferred to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Metelsky was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, and Donaldson's condition was not available. No one else was hurt.
Speed and alcohol are suspected as factors in the crash, which remains under investigation. Charges are pending.
Photos by Steve Manheim.
Contractors are already repairing the gaping hole left in the side of the Boys & Girls Club, which is at 1821 Middle Ave., Taylor said.
Despite the damage, Taylor said the club's programming will go on. There is a summer camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and teenage programming from 5 to 9 tonight.
"It's a rather large facility," he said. "We can still use the tech lab, the library, the teen wing and the basketball courts. We're in close proximity to South Park ... and Friday we had already planned a field day in Lorain."
Taylor estimates damage at $75,000 to the building and $5,000 to the playground. He said repairs should only take two to three days.
"By next week we should be back to full operation," he said.
Photos courtesy of Bobby Taylor.