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Published: 2/27/2007

4 injured as dispute leads to car crash

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gaston Gaston
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Four people were hurt yesterday in a collision in downtown Toledo that started as domestic dispute when a woman called 911 to say the father of her children was in a vehicle behind hers, ramming her as she drove toward the police station.

Police identified the man they were chasing as James Gaston, 28, of 925 Hamilton Ave., who has been accused of threatening, battering, and violating temporary protection orders at least 21 times.

And yesterday, as Precious Jackson, 24, paused at a stop light, Mr. Gaston jumped from his van, ran to her window, and threatened to beat her up if she didn't let him see their children, according to a report she filed with police.

"He's ramming her as she's driving, at one point, through a school zone with kids going to school," police Officer Tim Smith said.

Within minutes, police said, the call turned into a brief police pursuit, and ended with a high-speed, T-bone collision into a car that police say doesn't seem to belong to anyone.

"There's a listed owner, but it appears that it was sold," Officer Curtis Jewell said.

Mr. Gaston was in fair condition last night in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center after the collision at Madison Avenue and 20th Street.

Also taken the hospital with minor injuries were occupants of a Buick Skylark, brothers Anthony and Arron Beamon, 29 and 32, respectively, whose last known address was 435 West Bancroft St., and Derrick Newberry, 25, whose address was unknown, Officer Jewell said.

Police said Ms. Jackson called 911 shortly before 9:15 a.m. saying Mr. Gaston was following her and threatening to physically assault her.

Police had filed a report on him less than 24 hours earlier.

About 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Darcell Jordan, 33, of 1228 Oakwood Ave., told police she was giving Mr. Gaston a ride to his cousin's home. She had her sons in the car, and Mr. Gaston insisted she "get rid" of them, so she and her sons jumped from the car and ran into a friend's house on Dorr Street. He pounded on the door and then left, she told police.

She asked for a temporary protection order.

Then yesterday morning, Ms. Jackson, who has filed at least three prior complaints against Mr. Gaston, said he came to her house and demanded to speak with her. She drove from the home, and he began to follow her, "bumping" into her vehicle.

Using a cell phone, she called police, she said, while traveling on Walbridge Avenue.

While Ms. Jackson was on the cell phone with police, she drove toward police headquarters downtown and Mr. Gaston drove away.

He drove up Adams Street, where Sgt. Geoff Glover spotted the vehicle, pulling behind it, police said.

At a nearby car wash, Officer Smith was cleaning his patrol car getting ready to go to the funeral of slain Detective Keith Dressel when he, too, noticed the car.

He turned on his emergency lights and siren, and Mr. Gaston veered south toward Madison, then turned west on Madison - in the eastbound lane - at about 50 mph.

Traveling westbound in the eastbound lane at Madison and 20th, Mr. Gaston's van slammed into the Buick driven by Anthony Beamon, who was making a left turn. Witnesses said the impact spun the Buick at least once, and Mr. Gaston's van crashed into a tree.

Yesterday's incident was one in a long list of accusations of violence against Mr. Gaston dating to 1996. But according to court and jail records, Mr. Gaston served only two brief jail sentences at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker, for domestic violence convictions.

Additionally, though he's been booked in the Lucas County jail at least 14 times, he was routinely released in a day or two, said sheriff's Deputy Becky Hussing. "The most he spent in the jail was once, for five days," she said.

Among the allegations against him were that he punched and kicked women, beat one with a cable wire, threw one against a wall, and told another - when she tried to break up with him - that "I'll kill you in front of your kids."

Some cases were dismissed after victims failed to appear - a common outcome of domestic violence cases in Toledo Municipal Court.

And yesterday's incident came just hours after two other domestic violence episodes in which victims were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

In one, police found Elmore Watson, 53, of 1159 Buckingham St., in a pool of blood about 9:15 p.m. Sunday. He was in fair condition last night in St. Vincent.

Witnesses said he tried to break up a dispute between his sons, Elmore Sturdivant III, and Emyl Sturdivant, 34 and 33 years respectively, and was stabbed several times by the older son.

Charged with felonious assault, Elmore Sturdivant posted a $1,000 bond and was released yesterday from the county jail.

At 8 a.m. Sunday, police responded to St. Vincent to find Barbara Wyatt, 45, of Chesbrough Street, with bruises, a "huge bump" on her forehead, and a eye swollen shut. She was in fair condition last night.

Charges are pending.

Contact Robin Erb at:

robinerb@theblade.com

or 419-724-613.



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