Officer Wounded During Traffic Stop; Manhunt For Suspect Continues

PERRYSVILLE, Ohio - The Perrysville Police chief was shot in the leg during a routine traffic stop in Ashland County on Tuesday, 19/43 News' Denise Strzelczyk reported.

The incident happened at approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday just south of Perrysville.

Authorities said that Chief Tim Sommer, 52, of Glenford, was pulling over a car because it did not have license plates, but before he could get out of his cruiser, the suspect got out of his car, began shooting at the chief and running toward him. Several shots were fired, and one hit Sommer in the upper thigh of his left leg.

A spokesman from the Ashland County Sheriff's Department said that the suspect actually opened the door to Sommer's cruiser and began beating him and trying to take his gun.

The suspect, who was described as being a 6-feet tall white male with a beard, then got back into his car and took off. The chief quickly called for help, but the suspect successfully got away.

Sommer was transported to Ashland Samaritan Hospital, where emergency room physician Dr. Geoff Mitchell said that the chief's condition was not life-threatening.

"His condition certainly wouldn't be immediately life-threatening," Mitchell said. "He required certain exams to test the blood vessels in his leg. They weren't available here, so he was sent to another hospital for evaluation."

The police chief, who was sent to Grant Medical Center in Columbus, is expected to recover. A nursing supervisor at Grant confirmed that Sommer was there, but would not release any information regarding his status.

In the meantime, approximately two dozen police units continue to search by land and by air for the suspect, who remains on the lam.

Another officer who was rushing to the scene to help Sommer was injured in the chaos following the shooting, but he was not wounded. Larry Martin crashed his car, dislocating his shoulder. Doctors, however, said that Martin will be just fine.