Former pro-golfer accused in hit-skip accident that injured a Mayfield Heights teen; state data shows the majority of hit-skip accidents remain unsolved

Former pro-golfer accused in hit-skip accident that injured a Mayfield Heights teen

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A teenager was hit and left in the road by an alleged drunk driver in the first week of October.

With a broken wrist and an aching body, Jason Grills told us about the moment he was hit while riding his bike in Mayfield Heights.

“I knew it was going to happen. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get away in time,” he said. “It hit, then I just don’t know what happened after that.”

According to the crash report, the driver who hit Grills had been sitting at a red light.

When the traffic light turned green, Grills was still partially in the crosswalk.

The driver accelerated anyways, hit Grills, and kept going.

“Either he was too drunk to notice, which he said he was [in the police report] or like he just didn’t care at all,” Grills said.

The suspect SUV didn’t get far after the crash..

Police arrived after it turned in to this BP gas station, one intersection away.

Officers say they found Gary Baker behind the wheel, with a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

According to the police report, Baker told officers he had eight beers and smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

He said he didn’t know he’d hit a person; he’d only felt a bump.

Baker’s charged with Misdemeanor OVI, disregard for safety, and leaving the scene of an accident.

We found his profile on PGA’s website. He last competed professionally in 2012.

Grills says he’s been fortunate for many reasons in his case, though.

For one, Baker was easily apprehended the day of the crash, because people who witnessed the accident... followed him and called police.

“Normally, when someone gets hit by a car, no one is there to chase the suspect down,” he said.

After speaking with Grills, 19 Investigates discovered the majority of hit and run accidents remain under investigation in Northeast Ohio tonight.

We found it’s more common the crime is unsolved than solved.

Through an open records request to the state, 19 Investigates found that nearly 80 percent of hit-and-run accidents that have happened in Ohio over the last five years remain unsolved.

Annette Hill is one family member still waiting for justice in one of more than 12,000 cases Cleveland Police say its officers are still working.

“Five years and I still do not know who did this to my child, and she’s not here,” Hill said. “The pain is still here. It will never go away.”

Her daughter Chelsea was hit on E. 40th St. and Carnegie in Cleveland a few days after she ran away from home.

Sergeant Ray Santiago, with the Ohio State Patrol explained to 19 Investigates why so many of these cases are left open right now.

Former pro-golfer accused in hit-skip accident that injured a Mayfield Heights teen (part 2)

“A lot of time when these things happen, there’s not much evidence left behind. The other individual that is left behind is usually frantic and panicked, so they are not necessarily thinking ‘what do I need to document in order to be made whole,'" he said.

Even with some evidence though, Sgt. Santiago says these cases are tough.

In Hill’s case, a surveillance camera captured video of the suspect car that killed her.

Police were able to tell it was a dark four-door sedan, made in the early 2000′s.

“When we just have simple things like a vehicle make and model maybe a color it’s still every difficult to track these things down,” he said. “For a lot of officers, it’s these types of crashes and that type of incident that we bring those home with us because that bothers us, when you can’t provide a family closure."

Hill says her daughter’s case is like a weight on my shoulder every day.

But, she says all she can do is participate in interviews like this to keep the word out there, and let people like Jason Grills know he is in many ways very blessed.

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