East Cleveland Police chase ends in crash with 3 other cars; several victims including 1-year-old sent to hospital

East Cleveland Police chase ends in crash with 3 other cars; several victims including 1-year-old sent to hospital

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Innocent bystanders were sent to the hospital Tuesday when a police pursuit ended in a crash at E. 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue.

The victims include a 1-year-old girl, according to an East Cleveland Police report.

East Cleveland Police say they initiated a traffic stop for heavy window tint on a Ford Escape.

Seconds after the officer asks for ID, body camera footage shows the man put the car back in drive and take off.

The officer barely chased the suspect for two minutes, before the driver bails from the SUV.

In that short time though, the pursuit crossed into the City of Cleveland, causing the crash involving at least three other cars.

A few women in one car hit by the suspect asked us not to identify them for their safety.

You can hear one of them breathing heavily in the back seat however, and she has a look of sheer terror on her face.

She and the three other people who were in the Jeep were taken to the hospital after the crash, including her one-year-old girl.

The women told 19 Investigates by phone they are ok now, but upset an East Cleveland Police chase ended up in Cleveland.

As we first reported, a similar concern was brought up at this Cleveland council safety committee meeting last week.

Mike Polensek said, “I could write a book on the number of pursuits that come into my community.”

“It’s not just a problem, its a major problem,” Basheer Jones said.

The Cleveland Police Chief explained that legally other agencies do have the right to chase into their jurisdiction.

“I’ll put it this way, I wouldn’t want another police chief telling me that my guys couldn’t do their jobs,” Chief Calvin Williams said.

To be fair, Right now there is no uniform pursuit policy in Northeast Ohio.

Updated numbers from the East Cleveland Police Department show their officers have engaged in 87 chases so far this year. Meanwhile, as of last week, Cleveland officers have engaged in seven pursuits.

In the discussion last week, some council members voiced concern Cleveland isn’t chasing often enough.

East Cleveland’s police chief Scott Gardner says it’s one of the reasons his officers have been chasing so much more lately.

“There needs to be a county wide policy for pursuits, end of story,” Polensek said.

After our coverage of the Cleveland Council meeting last week, Gardner told us he is pleased others are listening to his renewed push for a county-wide policy.

Chief Gardner told us in an email, “I would like to think that the continued coverage of this topic might result in a positive change of an agreed-on policy.”

Police did apprehend the suspect they say caused the crash Tuesday.

Officers say Steven Robinson had five warrants out for charges including domestic violence assault and theft.

Now... he faces even more charges for fleeing and aggravated vehicular assault.

It’s unclear how long it could take local agencies to come up with a county-wide pursuit policy and put it in place.

We will continue to follow this developing story.

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