HUBBARD TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – A man is in custody after a police chase ended in a crash.
The incident started about 7:45 p.m. Sunday following a traffic stop in Hermitage.
Hermitage Police Chief Eric Jewell said that an officer saw “suspected narcotics activity” in the 3000 block of S. Hermitage Rd (Route 18) and attempted to pull the driver over, but he took off and a chase ensued.
Jewell said the driver, later identified as Gabriel Queener, 27, of Youngstown, led police on a chase through southern Hermitage into Wheatland, Shenango Township and then onto Mercer-West Middlesex Road (Route 318).
Jewell said Queener lost control of the Ford Taurus he was driving on Route 318 and hit an oncoming vehicle head-on. He said Queener then ran away from the crash scene.
He crashed into a vehicle driven by Megan Perry and Cory King. They were on their way to dinner and were badly hurt in the crash.
Perry and King’s friend Samantha Tatomirovich said, “It’s unfortunate when things like this happen to good people. They’re going to have a bunch of medical bills, not go to work and they’re going to be losing out on a lot right around the holidays.”
Queener’s passenger, who told police that he didn’t know Queener and that he threw drugs out of the car during the chase, was also injured in the crash.
All three are in stable condition.
State and local police searched for Queener with K-9 units and a helicopter. He was eventually found about 2 a.m. Monday inside a WRTA bus that was parked in a parking lot on Hubbard-Masury Rd. in Hubbard Township.
Lt. Brian Holt with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they were able to track the man after finding footprints in the snow.
“A couple of troopers, they were following some tracks. We’d been searching for hours and they did eventually find the suspect right here inside this bus where they took him into custody without any further incident. Did an outstanding job,” Holt said.
Queener admitted to running from police because he didn’t have a driver’s license and thought there was a warrant out for him. He also said he had been smoking marijuana at the time police tried to pull him over, according to a media release from the Hermitage Police Department.
Jewell said charges pending against Queener include: Fleeing and eluding, felony accident with injury while not properly licensed, DUI, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and driving under suspension.
Agencies involved in the pursuit and arrest include: Hermitage, Shenango Township, Farrell, Mercer County Sheriff’ Office, Hubbard Township Police, Hubbard City Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Tatomirovich is collecting money to help cover the medical bills of Megan Perry and Cory King. You can contact her on Facebook for details on how to donate.