Akron woman in court after being accused of trying to run over Tallmadge police officer

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TALLMADGE, OH– An Akron woman was arraigned Monday morning on charges including felonious assault on a police officer, aggravated robbery and failure to comply after allegedly trying to run down a police officer in a grocery store parking lot. According to police, Yolanda DeBruce, 47, tried to run over a Tallmadge police officer who attempted to stop her for shoplifting, and then led officers on a chase into Akron.

Around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Officer Stephanie Laughlin stopped at Giant Eagle on West Avenue after her shift, and as she was checking out store employees alerted her that a woman had taken a cart full of groceries from the store without paying. Laughlin radioed for help and attempted to stop DeBruce in the parking lot, according to police.

“She's in uniform; she's obviously a police officer. She's approaching the car,” Tallmadge Police Chief Ronald Williams said. “She's saying, 'stop, police, stop, police,' and the woman lurched the car a couple times then basically gunned it at her to escape.”

According to investigators, DeBruce surged toward Laughlin, who fired her weapon once toward DeBruce’s tire, with a bullet hitting the driver’s side door. Police said DeBruce’s vehicle struck Laughlin, who suffered minor leg injuries.

“Shots fired, Giant Eagle. I almost got run over by a car. It’s a gold van with temp tags,” Laughlin relayed via police radio.

Investigators said DeBruce led Tallmadge police officers on a chase that lasted about five minutes and stretched into Akron, with speeds reaching nearly 60 miles per hour. Dash camera video shows the van coming to a stop along Davis Street near Victoria. Police surrounded the van, then took DeBruce to the ground and arrested her.

DeBruce is in the Summit County Jail and was arraigned on a series of charges in Stow Municipal Court Monday. She had been wanted on warrants stemming from past charges, and the judge ordered her to remain in jail for one year on those charges. She is being held on $750,000 bond on the new charges and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on December 22. Police said DeBruce has a known drug habit, and she is also facing a charge of possession of drug abuse instruments.

“She took no consideration to the officer's safety or any other person, and you're not going to outrun the radios,” Williams said.

Laughlin, a 10-year police department veteran, was treated and released from an area hospital. She is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure following any use of deadly force incident.