STRONGSVILLE, Ohio-- The Strongsville police officer who fatally shot a man after a high-speed police chase on Interstate 71 in March will not face criminal charges.
Medina County Prosecutor Forrest Thompson said a grand jury returned a no bill indictment Tuesday, meaning Officer Jason Miller will not face charges and the case is closed. Thompson said he presented a comprehensive case to the grand jury after an investigation by Ohio BCI was completed.
Investigators said Roy Evans, Jr., 37, was driving a van that failed to pull over for a traffic stop on I-71 in Strongsville around 2:30 a.m. on March 7. He led police on a 16-mile, high-speed chase that ended in Medina.
Troopers used spike strips to slow the van, which spun out. Dash cam video showed police cruisers barricaded it. Evans can then be seen ramming forward into a police SUV, then stopping.
Dash cam video from Strongsville police cruisers reveals two officers ran up to the driver’s side door, and an officer can be heard firing at Evans within seconds of the door being opened.
Officers are then heard ordering Evans to show his hands three times. There was no body camera video to show what the officers saw, but state investigators said they did not find a weapon in the van.
There were three children in the van, and some of them can be seen on video watching what was happening from the back seat.
Evans’ girlfriend, Amanda Pauley was in the passenger seat and was handcuffed then later placed in a cruiser with the children.
Evans has a long criminal record and was released from prison in the fall. Pauley told FOX 8 News Evans ran because he did not want to return to prison and that she told him to pull over.
Strongsville police released the following statement Wednesday:
"The Strongsville Police Department has cooperated fully with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office in all matters related to the use of force case of Mr. Roy D Evans. We respect the Medina County Prosecutor’s decision to present the facts of this case to the Medina County Grand Jury, and we expected the decision that they reached. At this time we will be conducting our internal review of this case, and will be withholding further comment until that review is completed."
According to a summary provided by BCI to the Medina County Prosecutor's Office, Miller told investigators the suspect had rammed cruisers several times during the chase and after it concluded.
BCI determined Miller fired the first shot about 4.7 seconds after exiting his cruiser.
In an interview with state investigators included in the BCI summary, Miller said when he approached the van, he saw the suspect with one hand on the steering wheel and the other maneuvering the gear selector. Miller said after he opened the vehicle's door, Evans's right hand "dropped towards the floor" and went out of view."
"At that moment, I was absolutely terrified that he was going for a weapon. I didn't have a, the thought process was so fast to retreat or to try and get to the draw before he did, and so at that moment I decided to shoot him because of my close proximity."
Miller said seeing the suspect's children in the cars "was surreal."
"I didn't want to kill him and immediately, immediately I was overcome with fear that he was going to die and this little girl saw it happen. So the only thing I could do was try and save his life," MIller told investigators.
The BCI summary states Evans had a history of mental health issues and had cannabinoids in his system at the time of his death.
According to his personnel file, Miller was involved in another shooting in 2011, when investigators said he shot a suspect who was in a vehicle in the Strongsville Walmart parking lot during a drug sting. The Strongsville Police Department determined he "feared for his life" and the use of force was justified.