Family narrowly avoids injury from Cleveland Police chase

CLEVELAND – A family had a narrow miss when they found themselves in the middle of a police chase on their way to the park in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood Saturday morning.

“Thank god we were just positioned the right way. If we were just a foot more back we all could have been seriously injured or killed,” said Harry Muntz.

Muntz, his wife, their son and dog were in their car sitting at the intersection of Fulton Parkway and Memphis Avenue when a car came barreling toward them.

“This car comes flying up Fulton Parkway, the cops are chasing him. He goes over the curb, over the grass, tries to get between that tree and us and smacks our back end,” said Muntz.

Suddenly the family was at the end of what they believe was a high-speed chase with Cleveland Police. “There was approximately 10 to 12 cars and I’d say maybe 20 officers,” Muntz said.

The suspect was driving a gold van and, after he hit the Muntz family, plowed into a tree and crashed.

“Within half a second there was police surrounding, they drew their weapons, cursed at him, telling him to get out of the car. He got down, they handcuffed him, put him in the back of the car,” Muntz said.

Police then took the man from the scene on a stretcher. Amazingly, the Muntz family was not injured, but Muntz said when he saw officers pulling out their guns, he was scared.

“I was concerned for my life and my family’s life. Who knows if the guy came out with a gun or -- if there was a shooting, I was ready to push my wife’s head down,” he said.

While Muntz will leave with a damaged car, he said dangerous crime in Cleveland is out of control.

“I really think that the mayor and the chief of police need to step up on patrols. I mean, the response time was amazing, but at the same time there needs to be some kind of preventative medicine to prevent these things from happening,” Muntz said.

Cleveland Police have not said why they were chasing the suspect in the gold van, but according to past statements from Chief Calvin Williams, officers are only allowed to chase suspects wanted for violent crimes and OVI related offenses.