High-speed chase led by state trooper through Akron ends in Cuyahoga Falls cornfield

A high-speed chase that began when a state trooper tried to stop a U-Haul truck and trailer near the Akron Interchange ended Saturday evening in a cornfield in Cuyahoga Falls when the last of two suspects was found hiding in brush.

Police from Akron and Cuyahoga Falls joined the chase as the U-Haul truck barreled along some Akron roads that typically bustle with nightlife on the weekends.

There’s no record of injuries to the two suspects — a male and female taken directly to the Summit County Jail — or officers from the multiple agencies involved in the chase. A sergeant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Cleveland said no civilian vehicles were damaged during the chase.

OSHP Sergeant Tyler S. Ross said the Cleveland-based criminal patrol unit initiated a traffic stop at 9:18 p.m. at South Main Street and South Street after a U-Haul truck failed to stop at the light. The U-Haul truck had been entered by Akron police as stolen in a criminal database shared by law enforcement agencies.

Near the Akron Innerbelt on Dart Avenue, Ross and Akron police said the U-Haul driver put the truck in reverse and backed into the trooper's vehicle, causing minor damage.

Moments later, a pedestrian-recorded video posted to Twitter showed the U-Haul truck and trailer speeding up Market Street through Highland Square, followed closely by the state trooper and four Akron Police Department cruisers. More Akron police followed behind, according to a witness.

Sometime after the caravan rolled through the busy entertainment district in Highland Square, the U-Haul truck led officers north through the Merriman Valley, either along Riverview Road or Akron-Peninsula Road. As the U-Haul truck crossed into Cuyahoga Falls, police there responded to a request for additional assistance.

On Bolanz Road in a cornfield on Szalay’s Farm and Market, OSHP officials said the U-Haul truck turned onto a dirt road where the vehicle chase ended.

Ross said a 45-year-old female passenger from Richfield was taken into custody and the 44-year-old male driver, also from Richfield, fled on foot. A perimeter was setup and the suspect was found hiding in brush. He was arrested “without further incident” and taken to the county jail, said Lt. Mike Miller with the Akron Police Department. Had the driver or passenger been injured, protocol would have called for them to be seen at a nearby hospital, Miller explained.

"During a search of the vehicle suspected narcotics and paraphernalia were located and seized," Ross said. "The vehicle and trailer were towed from the scene."

Until his case is bound over to the county courthouse, the driver is charged in Akron Municipal Court with failure to comply, elude or flee (a 3rd degree felony), receiving stolen property (a 4th degree felony) and criminal damaging (a 5th degree felony), in addition to misdemeanor charges of vehicular assault, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and drug paraphernalia.

Reach reporter Doug Livingston at dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3792.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: State trooper, city police chase speeding U-Haul truck through Akron