A Toledo man is to be arraigned Saturday morning after he was accused in a crash that seriously injured two city police officers who are expected to need weeks of recovery.
Matthew Hartford, 28, of Oakdale Avenue was charged with two counts of felonious assault and booked into the Lucas County jail, according to jail records. His arraignment was scheduled at Toledo Municipal Court.
He was arrested Thursday by members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.
Toledo police officers served search warrants and conducted interviews in their search for the driver who broadsided a marked police SUV shortly after an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper broke off a pursuit.
Officers Jeron Ellis and Todd Mikolajczyk were injured at 4:43 a.m. while headed south on East Broadway when their patrol car 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. The officers had to be extricated by Toledo fire crews.
The officers were taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for treatment; police said the injuries were not life-threatening and the officers were in serious condition Thursday 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 it was going at the time of the crash. Police Lt. Dan Gerken said a call was made suggesting the vehicle was stolen, but no report was made.
Hartford was fleeing a state trooper from the Bowling Green post who attempted to stop him for speeding, said Highway Patrol Lt. William Bowers.
The trooper reported the vehicle was traveling more than 70 mph on Miami Street, near I-75, where the 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.
Toledo police Chief William Moton said Highway Patrol dispatchers had called Toledo police dispatchers to report the pursuit, but before 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 because the department has a large class of rookies.
Deputy Chief Don Kenney described Officer Mikolajczyk as a “seasoned” and “energetic” officer.
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said news of the crash recalled for him the way he felt Jan. 26, when firefighters Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, were killed battling a Magnolia Street apartment fire.
Mr. 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 police would not release a video of the crash from the camera on the officers’ vehicle because it is part of the investigation.