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Published: Saturday, 12/13/2003

Adrian driver shot by officer dies

Lt. Steven Farrell discusses details of the car chase and the shooting of Jessalynn Simon. Lt. Steven Farrell discusses details of the car chase and the shooting of Jessalynn Simon.

ADRIAN - An 18-year-old Adrian woman shot by a Michigan State Police trooper at the end of a car chase Thursday night died yesterday morning in Medical College of Ohio Hospitals, Toledo.

Jessalynn Simon led two Lenawee County sheriff s deputies and three state troopers on a seven-minute chase through the city of Adrian and Adrian Township about 5 p.m., Lt. Steven Farrell, commander of the state police post in Adrian, said.

The chase began when a sheriff s deputy attempted to pull Ms. Simon over for erratic driving and a broken headlight near Curtis Road and M-52, he said.

Ms. Simon continued driving and the deputy pursued her. The deputy later was joined by four other law enforcement vehicles which followed Ms. Simon for about five miles, Lieutenant Farrell said.

Jessalynn Simon Jessalynn Simon

Ms. Simon sideswiped several of the pursuing vehicles with her car during the chase through rush-hour traffic.

“She continued to try to elude officers,” Lieutenant Farrell said. “There was concern that some innocent citizen might get injured or killed.”

The officers forced Ms. Simon off U.S. 223 near Wolf Creek Highway, he said. One trooper left his vehicle and as he approached Ms. Simon s car, she tried to back into him, the lieutenant said.

A second trooper also moved toward Ms. Simon on foot. When she tried to hit him with her car, he fired his gun, Lieutenant Farrell said.

The shot went through the passenger side of Ms. Simon s car and through both of her thighs, Dr. Diane Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said. The bullet tore Ms. Simon s right femoral artery, causing death due to blood loss.

“I would like to express condolences to the family,” Lieutenant Farrell said. “It s regrettable and unfortunate.”

Relatives could not be reached for comment.

The trooper who shot Ms. Simon has been placed on paid administrative leave. Lieutenant Farrell would not release the trooper s name, but said he is assigned to the Adrian post and has been with the state police for eight years.

Preliminary tests from MCO Hospitals show that Ms. Simon tested negative for drugs and alcohol, Dr. Barnett said.

Ms. Simon s driver s license was suspended because of a poor driving record, Lieutenant Farrell said.

She attended Adrian High School for her freshman and part of her sophomore year. In January, 2002, she transferred to Blissfield High School.

“My memory is that she was involved in our choirs; she had red hair, and had a warm smile,” Adrian High School Principal Gerald Burg said.

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