CLEVELAND (WJW) — SkyFOX followed a driver going the wrong way and making lots of dangerous and suspicious moves for more than half an hour, but two police agencies never caught up to the car.
The FOX 8 crew in the air told police of almost every turn, but the driver got away. That led the I-Team to investigate.
Friday morning, about 6:30 a.m., the SkyFOX helicopter crew spotted two guys taking things out of a car just off the highway at I-480 and I-271. SkyFOX kept an eye on the two men as they drove away even going the wrong way up a ramp along I-480. The car nearly crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer.
FOX 8 reporter Patty Harken called Warrensville Heights police, reporting that car also was blowing stoplights, driving on the berm of the highway and turning around in the median.
Harken, then, called Cleveland police as the car zigzagged through the city’s southeast side.
The FOX 8 crew followed that same, dangerous driver for about 45 minutes. Even giving police an update turn-by-turn. Yet, police never stopped that driver.
So, we investigated why.
At one point, dispatch put out an alert to all Cleveland police cars in that area. And, a dispatcher stayed on the line with Patty Harken getting specific locations and addresses.
The driver also made multiple stops, sometimes backing in to park at a home, or at businesses, too.
But, SkyFOX never saw any police stop that car. The I-Team asked Cleveland police to explain the response to this call. A spokesperson sent an email saying the matter is “currently under investigation.”
On one recording, a dispatcher can be heard saying: “This is going live with Patty with FOX 8 News they’re in the helicopter chasing, following this man.”
An officer responds with, “It’s a Code 3 erratic driver, but, yeah…”
A supervisor does assign a car to the call saying, “Sam 32 to Barney 37. Check out this suspicious activity, then make your way back to the district (headquarters).”
SkyFOX briefly lost sight of the car. And, a recording shows dispatch saying, “Radio, to Barney 37 update, they can no longer see the vehicle.” And, an officer answers, “Alright, perfect.”
The SkyFOX crew quickly found the car. But, the crew eventually had to break away. After 45 minutes, the car was parked at a store, but still a mystery.
There’s no evidence police ever got to it. In fact, a police radio recording also shows the officer assigned to the incident was called back to district headquarters. We have also reached out to Warrensville Heights Police. As of deadline on Monday, we had not received a response.
We’ll follow up for what comes out of the Cleveland police internal review.