AVON LAKE – Bond was set at $200,000 for a man accused of stealing a truck and leading police on a high speed chase before crashing into a Westlake Bar.
Brandon Pawlak was video arraigned in Avon Lake Municipal court Tuesday morning. He is facing several charges including fleeing police and grand theft.
A prosecutor told the judge that the 26-year-old is a career criminal who recently served three years in prison for failure to comply and burglary. Pawlak also served time in prison for motor vehicle theft.
However, Pawlak told the judge that he has been asking for help since his first criminal case.
“I know my record shows I’m a career criminal but I really am not a bad, bad person,” Pawlak said. “I have a very, very bad drug problem and I never had help with it.”
Pawlak is accused of stealing a truck from a golf course in Avon Lake and then leading Avon police on a chase last Thursday that ended when he crashed into the Dover Gardens Tavern in Westlake injuring more than a dozen people.
Two of those injured were bartenders that got pinned behind the bar. They are both still hospitalized.
Meanwhile, the bar has been closed since the crash.
The crash caused severe damage to the bar, including structural damage.
The owner says it could be several weeks before he can reopen.