Driver Escapes on Foot (2008)
The city police department is reviewing a dashboard video of a 20-minute, high-speed chase Saturday night to determine whether the pursuit should have been allowed to continue.The chase followed a traffic stop in Niles in which the driver, identified by police as Harley Tibbs, 28, of South Street, Niles, was pulled over for speeding on U.S. Route 422.But when the Niles police officer approached the 2002 Chevrolet Blazer, Tibbs took off, turned right on state Route 46 and then left on Mines Road, authorities said.By this time, the Niles police officer had been advised by his supervisor to end the pursuit. Officers at that point had information on the owner of the car.The officer followed behind at a distance without lights and siren in order to advise where the vehicle was headed, according to Niles police.A few minutes later, at about 8:30 p.m., the vehicle headed into Warren, where Patrolmen David Weber and John Marks Jr. spotted it on South Street near state Route 169.After traveling a few blocks on South Street, the officers saw fellow officer Detective Sgt. Michael Merritt pulling onto South Street ahead of Tibbs’ vehicle and contacted him to help stop the vehicle.Merritt stopped his police investigations van at a green light at the intersection with Pine Street near the Warren police station, while Weber stopped his cruiser along the left side of the SUV.As Merritt and Marks got out of their vehicles to apprehend Tibbs, Tibbs drove forward, hitting the rear of the police van and driving over the sidewalk to escape into the police department parking lot, Warren police said.The vehicle proceeded north on Park Avenue with Weber in pursuit but Marks no longer in the vehicle. By about that point, Warren police had identified the driver.Twenty minutes later, after a high-speed pursuit that followed Champion Avenue, State Road, Templeton Road, U.S. Route 422, Leavitt Road and several other — mostly rural — roads, Tibbs crashed the SUV at the intersection of Braceville Robinson and Eagle Creek roads in Braceville Township, police said.Capt. Tim Bowers of the Warren police said he had begun to review the videotape and other information on the chase to determine whether officers made the right choice to pursue Tibbs.Weber’s vehicle, which was equipped with a “push bumper,” also crashed into the rear of the SUV, causing a small amount of damage to the cruiser.No injuries were reported, though the Niles policeman reported that he narrowly escaped having his foot run over.Weber gave a brief foot chase for Tibbs but Tibbs was not found. The female passenger in the vehicle, the registered owner of the vehicle, was still inside at the time and told officers she didn’t know why Tibbs fled.Tibbs was arrested Sunday and arraigned in the municipal courts in Niles and Warren on charges including felonious assault, failure to comply, fleeing and eluding, and driving under suspension.He remains in Trumbull County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling $225,000.