SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – New details are emerging about a bizarre incident involving a truck driver, whose actions led to the shut down of a local highway and a manhunt involving dozens of police officers.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says it was just before 3 p.m. on Thursday when troopers in Medina County responded to a report from a motorist on I-271 that a truck driver on the side of the highway pulled a gun on a mechanic he had summoned to replace a couple of tires on his truck.
According to dispatch tapes obtained by FOX 8, the witness told dispatchers that the suspect put the gun to the victim’s head.
Investigator say when troopers arrived, the gunman disconnected the tractor from the trailer and sped away.
The pursuit that followed continued on into neighboring Summit County and that’s where officers from Richfield Township laid down stop sticks.
Troopers say the truck driver then rammed into one of the Richfield cruisers and almost hit two officers.
His truck then went off the highway and struck a guard rail near Route 303.
Authorities say the driver then jumped out of the cab, armed with the gun, and ran into a wooded area.
A small army of police officers was close behind.
They shut down the highway, quickly established a perimeter around the area and began a methodical search for the suspect.
At 6:45 p.m., police found the truck driver, Ali Abdul Esaleh of Buffalo, New York, at the bottom of a steep ravine into which he had apparently fallen.
Investigators say he was unconscious when they found him, and he was taken by ambulance to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
He is currently listed in critical condition.
The highway patrol says the 47-year-old will face charges of felonious assault, failure to comply and a weapons violation, for the use of the gun as the situation unfolded Thursday afternoon and evening.