GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Three young people are in police custody after authorities say they hatched a plan to steal a dirt bike and ended up taking sheriff’s deputies - and the dirt bike’s owner - on a chase that ended in downtown Chesterland Tuesday evening.
“There’s not too much action around here, but you know we were just concerned I wanted to make sure the customers were okay and our workers and nobody got hurt which is important you know, so yeah thank God for that,” said Mike Albino, owner of Guido’s Family Restaurant in Chesterland.
Geauga County Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the situation at about 7:15 p.m. from a residence in the 14000 block of Ravenna Road in Newbury Township, according to a Geauga County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Three young people ages 16, 17, and 18 drove to Newbury to look at a dirt bike that had been listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace, the report said. When the 18-year-old asked the owner of the dirt bike to take it for a test drive, the 17-year-old slid behind the wheel of the vehicle the youngster arrived in.
The 18-year-old then fled the residence on the dirt bike, and the two younger teens followed in their vehicle, according to the report.
The dirt bike owner fired a shot into the air and then fired at the teens’ vehicle, striking it in the lower right corner of the batch hatch, authorities say.
Then he followed the boys in his vehicle and called 911.
“They were looking at it and then took off down the driveway,” the owner of the dirtback told a 911 dispatcher.
A ranger with the Geauga Parks District spotted the teens’ vehicle traveling an estimated 100 miles per hour northbound on Ravenna Road.
He attempted to stop the vehicle then pursued it when it failed to stop, according to the report. He called out locations to other agents as the vehicle approached State Route 322.
The vehicle turned on west on SR-322 and the ranger ended his chase. Chester Township police had set up stop sticks near the Berkshire Hills Country Club on SR-322.
A short time later, a dispatcher confirmed the teens had hit the stop sticks, the report said.
The deputy report describes a chaotic scene after the vehicle struck the spike strips: The teens’ vehicle continued along Mayfield Road until it reached the parking lot of a CVS at 8519 Mayfield Road.
There, the young people abandoned the car and took off on foot.
Moments later, the manager of Guido’s Family Restaurant, Mike Albino, flagged down a deputy who had responded to the area to cut-off the fleeing teens, according to the report.
“There was a suspicious man hanging out in the booth that didn’t wanna order any food and he kept requesting a phone charger and there were several police officers and cars in the parking lot so I went out and I was like, ‘Hey guys. There’s a suspicious guy in our restaurant, I don’t know you may wanna come check it out,’” said Albino.
The deputy entered the restaurant and put the 16-year-old in handcuffs, according to the report.
While the deputy was walking the teen out to the parking lot he saw another teen lying on the ground behind a car. This teen was reaching down into a sewer; the grate had been removed.
“It literally looked like the kid came out of nowhere,” Albino recalled. “I mean there was a car parked there so I thought maybe he was hiding behind it and nobody saw him and then we had a customer come in and he’s like, ‘I was watching the whole thing and all of the sudden I see the sewer grate pop up and a guy comes out of it!’”
As the deputy was putting this teen in cuffs, he heard a voice coming from down inside the sewer, the report said. It was the third young person.
The 17-year-old eventually returned to the entrance to the sewer where he surrendered to other deputies.
“A man came out of the sewer and that was right in front of the police officer so and then he kind of did one of these like he was gonna run and then he looked at the police officer and just kind of like shrugged his shoulders and he just fell on the ground like he gave up,” explained Albino.
The three were each charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, according to deputies.
The two juveniles, who are from Cleveland, were taken to the Geauga/Portage County Youth Detention Center, according to the report. It is unclear where the 18-year-old, identified as Frederick Jefferson, also of Cleveland, was taken.
It is also unclear from the reports at what point the teen who was on the dirt bike was able to get into the vehicle with his associates or when the owner of the dirt bike abandoned his chase.
Authorities found the dirt bike abandoned in a ditch on Butternut Road, according to the dispatch logs.
The 16-year-old told deputies that they had gone to Newbury with a plan to steal the dirt bike. He also told deputies that he should have stayed home.