Police cruiser damaged in chase

EAST LIVERPOOL — An Industry, Pa. man ended up in the Ohio River early Sunday morning after leading a city police officer on a pursuit into West Virginia, where the officer also nearly landed in the water.

Patrolman Steve Adkins reported he was pulling from behind Westgate School at 1:55 a.m. when he saw a vehicle westbound on West Eighth Street turn left into a one-way street toward the on ramp to state Route 39.

Adkins pulled behind the vehicle and said he could tell it was accelerating away from his cruiser and, once underneath the Newell Bridge, he tried to initiate a traffic stop, with the car slowing as though it was going to stop at the Second Street off ramp.

It then swerved right and went to the intersection of Jackson and Second streets where it paused for about a minute, then continued eastward at a slow speed for about 100 feet before pulling over and coming to a complete stop, Adkins reported.

As the officer stopped about 10 feet behind the vehicle, it was moved about 10 feet ahead and then stopped, but when Adkins exited his cruiser and approached it, the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed, but not before he determined there was a male driver and female passenger inside.

With Adkins in pursuit, the vehicle went across the Jennings Randolph Bridge into Chester, W.Va., striking the concrete median wall on the driver’s side but continuing on, then turning onto a street where Adkins said a black male came from the driver’s side and ran toward the city water plant and over the hillside toward the river.

Other officers checked the vehicle and found the woman had also fled.

While pursuing the fleeing man, Adkins’ cruiser went over the hillside and struck a tree, narrowly preventing it from rolling over into the river, according to Chief John Lane.

The driver was not located at the river, but at 3:43 a.m., Midland, Pa. police were asked to go to a home there to try and locate the vehicle’s owner, Regina Wadatz, Midcrest Homes, but she was not located.

At 5:22 a.m., Beaver County police were contacted and asked to go to an address there in an attempt to locate the man and woman, but that also turned up no one.

About five minutes later, the Hancock County, W.Va., sheriff’s office contacted city police to report locating a person fitting the description of the driver in the location where the incident took place in Chester, and man had requested an ambulance due to possible hypothermia.

The suspect, Josh I. Williams, 25, 101 Beechwood Drive, Industry, Pa., was transported to East Liverpool City Hospital, where police said he admitted driving the vehicle and apologized for his actions, saying “he appreciates what we do.”

Williams’ clothing was soaked, and he told officers he had rolled into the river, also saying the vehicle was his grandmother’s.

He was charged with failure to comply with a police officer’s order, driving under suspension, speeding and a one-way street violation.

Meanwhile, Lane reported Monday, Beaver County police have asked that a hold be placed on the car Williams was driving to determine whether it could be connected to an incident being investigated in that jurisdiction in which a body was found over the weekend, lying alongside the roadway.

In East Liverpool Municipal Court Monday, Williams had a Nov. 30 second arraignment scheduled, with $35,000 cash/surety bond set.