CLEVELAND (WJW) – A high-speed police pursuit that started in Maple Heights early Thursday morning ended in Cleveland with a collision that left an officer and two innocent drivers injured. Surveillance video from a Cleveland business obtained by Fox 8 News shows a Maple Heights police officer chasing a Jeep Cherokee at high speed on Lee Road just after 1:00 a.m.
After the suspect’s car and the first police cruiser passed through an intersection, a driver who was waiting to pull into a Rally’s made the turn and pulled in front of a second Maple Heights cruiser involved in the chase.
The officer tried to swerve out of the way, but his cruiser struck the car and hit an SUV in the parking lot, before rolling over several times.
Maple Heights police say the officer and the drivers of the two vehicles struck by his cruiser suffered only minor injuries and were released after being treated at local hospitals.
The pursuit of the gray Jeep Cherokee was terminated near Harvard and Lee in Cleveland.
Syed Rahman is the operator of the Dunkin Donuts near the scene of the high-speed crash, and says he knew something unusual happened overnight because when he came to work on Thursday morning, he found a tire and some car parts on the ground.
“That’s just Cleveland and every time it happens here, this is not the first time, I’ve seen it a few other times too,” said Rahman.
When Rahman later checked the video from his surveillance cameras, he was astounded to see the high-speed pursuit, and then the collision between the second police cruiser and the two other vehicles.
It turns out that the tire and parts he found were from one of the cars involved in the initial collision.
He says after watching the video, he is amazed that the officer and the other two drivers did not suffer more serious injuries.
“I feel very good about it, that everyone is safe at least,” he said.
Investigators say the gray Jeep Cherokee being pursued by officers had dark-tinted windows and a loud exhaust.
They believe the same vehicle has been involved in several crimes in Maple Heights and Cleveland.
Police were able to capture a grainy photo of the vehicle as it traveled along Lee Road.
Authorities say the pursuit began near Broadway Avenue and Libby Road in Maple Heights after an officer noticed the driver was operating the Jeep recklessly, and that the vehicle had no visible license plate.
Rahman says the suspect and others who are willing to flee from police at dangerously high speeds are putting innocent people at risk.
“That’s not safe at all because you know you going to hit a car one or the other way, rather than you just stop and cooperate with the police,” he said.
Anyone with information about the Jeep or the suspect behind the wheel is asked to call Maple Heights Police or Crime Stoppers.