Elyria chief worried about safety after 3 cruisers break down during chase

Elyria chief worried about safety after 3 cruisers break down during chase
The Elyria Police Department. (Source: WOIO)

ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) - A Facebook post on the Elyria Police Department's page has gotten thousands of views as Patrolman Mike Groomes shares what happened this past weekend when three police vehicles broke down during a high-speed chase.

The call started as a report about a suspected stolen vehicle at the Chestnut Commons shopping plaza, and then as officers approached the 2005 Dodge Neon, the driver sped off, heading north on Route 57.

"We heard a loud pop that sounded like it was coming from the engine and then a loud grinding noise. We were probably doing 70-75 mph at that point," described Groomes.

Groomes called for backup, but that plan soon failed, too.

"Asking the unit behind us to take over the lead, and he radioed that he wasn't even able to catch us. He was having problems catching up with us, as well as a third unit that was following behind," said Groomes.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol had to take over the pursuit and make the arrest. If it weren't for their help, the suspect may have gotten away.

"Embarrassing that our agency could not do what needed to be done and we had to turn it over. Absolutely. Thank God we have a good relationship with the Highway Patrol," said Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely.

Whitely says he fears for his officers' safety. The newest cars in his fleet of 59 have more than 100,000 miles on them.

"When you are talking about your newer cars being 110,000 miles already, vehicles that are not considered suitable for another agency, and we are putting them on the road because they are better than what we have, that's very concerning," added Whitely.

A levy will be on the March 15 ballot. According to the city's website, Issue 6 would be a temporary, five year, one half percent increase of the city's income tax.

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