Authorities have arrested a man on charges he crashed into two Toledo police officers, seriously injuring them, while he was fleeing the Ohio Highway Patrol early this morning.
Matthew Hartford, 28, whose address was unavailable, faces two counts of felonious assault, police said.
Earlier this afternoon officers served search warrants and conducted interviews in their search for the driver who broadsided a marked police SUV.
Officers Jeron Ellis and Todd Mikolajczyk were injured at 4:43 a.m. when they were headed southbound on East Broadway in a marked sport-utility vehicle that was struck by an eastbound SUV that ran a stop sign on Greenwood Avenue.
The police vehicle, struck in the passenger-side door where Officer Ellis was riding, was pushed about 100 feet, coming to a rest upright across a sidewalk on the southeast corner of the intersection. The officers had to be extricated from the vehicle by Toledo fire crews.
The officers were taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for treatment; police said the injuries are not life threatening and the officers are in serious, but stable condition this afternoon. Officials declined to elaborate on the officers' injuries.
The suspect vehicle flipped onto its side and the driver escaped through a sunroof, according to an incident report. It was not known how fast the suspect vehicle was driving at the time of the crash.
Police Lt. Dan Gerken said a call was made suggesting that the vehicle was stolen, but a report was not made.
OBJECTMayor D. Michael Collins news of the crash recalled for him the way he felt on Jan. 26, when firefighters Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, were killed battling a Magnolia Street apartment building fire.
Police said Hartford was fleeing a trooper from the Bowling Green post of the Highway Patrol who attempted to stop the him for speeding, said Highway Patrol Lt. William Bowers.
The trooper reported that the suspect driver was driving more than 70 mph on Miami Street, near I-75, where the posted speed limit is 40 mph, Lieutenant Bowers said. The suspect took off on Miami and turned onto Greenwood. “For safety reasons” the trooper terminated the pursuit at Greenwood and Euclid avenues, two blocks from the crash.
“A short time after that, we're talking seconds, the suspect ran a stop sign and struck the Toledo cruiser,” Lieutenant Bowers said. The lieutenant said the trooper “made a good call” by ending the pursuit.
Police Chief William Moton said Highway Patrol dispatchers had called Toledo police dispatchers to report the pursuit, but before city dispatchers could relay the information to police crews, the crash had happened.
“This happened very quickly,” Chief Moton said.
Officer Ellis, 30, is a rookie officer in his third month of street patrol. Officer Mikolajczyk, also 30, is a veteran officer who has worked for TPD since 2011. He is not usually a training officer, but is serving that role currently because the department has a larger-than-usual class of rookies.
Deputy Chief Don Kenney described Officer Mikolajczyk as a “seasoned” and “energetic” officer.
Mayor Collins said he met with Officer Mikolajczyk's wife and mother at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and “was there privately with them in prayer.”
Lieutenant Bowers said there is dash-cam video of the crash, but police will not release it because it is part of the ongoing investigation.