Driver accused of crashing into Westlake tavern on trial

Driver accused of crashing into Westlake tavern on trial
The stolen truck crashed into Dover Gardens Tavern in Westlake. (Source: WOIO)
The stolen truck crashed into Dover Gardens Tavern in Westlake. (Source: WOIO)

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - The man accused of leading police on a multi-city, high-speed chase before crashing into a Westlake bar appeared in court Wednesday.

It was a horrific crash that injured a dozen people. The driver Brandon Pawlak was slapped with a slew of charges.

Pawlak is accused of stealing a truck and running from police, eventually crashing into the crowded Dover Gardens Tavern on Detroit Road last October.

Prosecutors say Pawlak was dropped off in Avon Lake where he is accused of stealing a truck on Jaycox Road. That's where the chase began.

The pursuit moved quickly south into Avon, where the stolen truck and the truck that dropped off Pawlak drove past an Avon cruiser.

The drop-off vehicle was stopped and its driver arrested.

The vehicle that was driven by Pawlak continued east on Detroit Avenue into Westlake, where police deployed stop sticks to corral the speeding driver.

The truck went out of control and crashed into the tavern.

On Wednesday, a jury heard evidence against Pawlak.

Avon Lake detectives testified that they saw Pawlak drive another stolen truck to the spot where he stole a truck.

In fact, they have video of the same ladder truck dropping him off at the lot where it was stolen, jumping the fence, and within a minute, driving off with it.

Although no one died in the crash, many of the victims were left with lasting injuries.

When victims take the stand, the real ramifications of the crime will play out.

As for the tavern itself, work has just begun to shore up the building before restoration can start.

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