Owner of home damaged in police chase speaks out

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CLEVELAND —  A Cleveland city councilman and a suburban police chief continue to spar over police chases from the eastern suburbs. Now, the man whose house was substantially damaged during a chase is speaking out for the first time.

The walls are buckling and the foundation is crumbling; Byron Thomas’ house in Cleveland is a disaster.

“The gas meter shifted; the electrical box shifted.  A couple more inches and boom, me and my daughter could have been dead,” said Thomas.

His house was rocked when a Willowick police officer lost control in a high speed chase early Monday morning.

So, the question remains: Who should pay for the damages?

Wednesday, Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek wrote a letter to Cleveland’s safety director saying he wants the Willowick Police Department to pay.

He also expressed his frustration over the substantial damage caused in his ward by what he referred to as “Blues Brother’s Chases.”

Willowick Police Chief Brian Turner responded to Polensek’s letter with one of his own, deferring his request to pay for damages to the city attorneys. Turner called the councilman’s words political grandstanding.

“He has the audacity to attack law enforcement, the very men and women putting their lives on the line, for the actions of violent thugs. Police pursuits are a very serious matter, and his suggestion that police officers somehow are to blame is incredible,” Turner wrote.

And while the two battle it out, Thomas is forced to live in a hotel.

Contractors tell him it will take 6 to 8 months at least to repair the house.

Continuing coverage here.

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