An Ohio man is in the Lawrence County jail following a high-speed chase and crash.

James Otis Jr., 37, of 631 W. Judson Ave., Youngstown, is awaiting arraignment on 18 charges that include felony, misdemeanor and summary offenses.

About 2:30 Thursday morning, a Union Township policeman stopped a silver Buick that had no license plate. The driver said he had no license, but gave the officer a name and date of birth.

As the officer headed back to his patrol car, the driver roared off toward Ohio on Route 422. The officer gave chase, noting speeds reached 120 miles per hour through single-lane construction zones, resulting in the car traveling west for some distance in the eastbound lane.

In addition, the officer said, the driver turned off the headlights several times in an attempt to get away.

Union police were joined by New Castle and Neshannock Township police departments.

The officer said the vehicle was lost briefly in the Harbor-Edinburg Road area. However, the county’s 911 center said the vehicle police had been seeking had turned around by driving through a front yard and was headed back toward New Castle.

The three officers pursued the car as it turned off Sampson Street onto Daniels Road at high speed, then slammed on its brakes, causing a New Castle police car to crash into the back of the Buick, resulting in front end damage to the police car.

The Union officer said Otis’ car then crashed into a house at 807 Harbor St., causing it to flip over.

At that point, the driver, wearing red shorts and a red-and-white-striped shirt, ran. He was chased by the city officer, who apprehended him. Police said the house is owned by the City Rescue Mission.

Police said they took custody of Otis, who told them he ran because he believed he was wanted on a warrant in Ohio and because he was high on marijuana.

Police determined there was no warrant for Otis’ arrest and he did not have a valid driver’s license.

They also determined his vehicle is owned by Terries Sales and Service of New Wilmington.

Police said Otis was taken to Jameson Hospital for a blood test, which he refused.

Officers then filed a variety of charges against Otis:

•Felony charges of aggravated assault for spiking the Buick’s brakes which caused the police car to hit it, fleeing and eluding police officers, aggravated assault, flight to avoid apprehension and criminal mischief for intentionally damaging property.

•Misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and false identification to law enforcement authorities.

•Summary charges of reckless driving, abandonment of a vehicle, driving on a divided highway, driving without lights to avoid identification or arrest, driving on the left side of the road, failure to display a registration plate, and failure to have a driver’s license.


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