Stow police officer injured by hit-skip driver out of hospital, expected to return to duty
A Stow police officer struck by a motorist fleeing a traffic stop April 9 spent two days in the hospital, but is now home and is expected to make a full recovery, said Stow Police Chief Jeff Film.
Film declined to release the officer’s name, but said the officer has been on the force for 25 years. He said the timing of his return to work would be up to doctors.
He called the incident “tragic.”
“We have received numerous tips from the community, and we are aggressively following them up,” he added. “I want to personally thank those members of our community who stopped after the officer was struck and rendered aid. This is a great community, and the support that we are given is overwhelming.”
In the meantime, the department on Wednesday said it is still seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating the driver of a 2012-2018 dark gray Kia Optima who struck the officer.
“We have gotten tips to this point already that have been helpful in investigation,” said Stow Police Capt. Bryan Snavely.
He said the incident started around 7 p.m. when the driver of the Kia fled from a police officer near the Fishcreek and Stow roads intersection. He said the driver took a shortcut to avoid the traffic light and the vehicle did not have visible plates. The Kia fled north on Fishcreek Road and turned west onto Hibbard Drive.
“The suspect vehicle fled before our officer even tried to initiate the traffic stop,” Snavely said. “The suspect vehicle took off and began driving in an attempt to elude the officer."
Snavely said the officer who was struck happened to be in the vicinity and had intended to place Stop Sticks on the road on Hibbard Drive near Cresswood Drive, about 100 feet east of Darrow Road and about a mile away from where the chase began. Stop Sticks are devices that can be placed in the road to deflate tires of speeding vehicles during police chases.
“Our other officer who got struck happened to be in the path of the pursuit, by chance. His goal was to try to get some Stop Sticks out but he hadn’t even got Stop Sticks in hand, because it was on him so fast that, ultimately, he was in the path and was struck before he could even deploy the Stop Sticks.”
After the officer was struck, the vehicle fled the area, police said, adding the front passenger headlight was broken during the incident. Police said the car had a black plastic bag covering the rear driver-side window and a dent in the rear driver-side fender above the wheel well. The rim on the rear driver-side tire had a rusty brake dust color covering it.
The driver is wanted on aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding, and hit-skip charges.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Snavely at 330-689-5702.