June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Brief police chase in Montville Twp. ends in injuries

Two men were hurt following a brief rush-hour police chase that ended in a crash on state Route 18 Thursday morning in Montville Township.

Montville Police Chief Terry Grice said the chase started at 8:03 a.m. on Montville Drive.

As seen from a Montville Police cruiser video camera, the red vehicle police say Luke Pfeiler drove was stopped on Montville Drive about 8 a.m. Thursday. Moments later, the video shows Pfeiler took off down the road, beginning a brief chase that left him and another man injured. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Grice said Montville police received a call at around 7:30 a.m. from a woman who said Luke Pfeiler, 21, of 3327 Valley Forge Drive, Brunswick, had broken into her car and damaged the ignition.

The chief said the victim also reported she had a physical confrontation with Pfeiler on Sunday.

The victim told police Pfeiler made threats about attempting “suicide by cop” when he found out she was notifying police Thursday, Grice said.

A Montville police officer located Pfeiler around 8 a.m. and stopped his vehicle on Montville Drive.

Pfeiler initially stopped, but then took off south on Montville Drive, his vehicle reaching speeds of about 50 miles per hour before turning right onto Stonebrook Lane — a dead-end street, Grice said.

Pfeiler turned quickly around at the end of the street and headed back toward Montville Drive, turning left and heading north on Montville Drive at speeds of at least 70 mph, Grice said.

When he reached Route 18, the chief said Pfeiler headed east on the state route before running a red light at Windfall Road and colliding with a Montville service department truck driven by maintenance supervisor Dennis Clapper.

Pfeiler had to be removed from his vehicle using hydraulic cutters and was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he was listed in good condition Thursday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Clapper was taken by ambulance to Akron General Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Grice said the chase could have been very dangerous given the time of day.

“There was fairly heavy traffic, it was rush hour on 18,” he said.

He said the eastbound lanes of Route 18 were closed while the accident was investigated and cleaned up.

Montville was supported at the scene by the Medina Township Fire Department, Sharon Township Fire Department, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Medina County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Department of Transportation. Medina assisted with traffic control.

Grice said his department is investigating the chase, crash and allegations of the car break-in that led to the chase.

On Jan. 22, Montville police charged Pfeiler with criminal damaging and aggravated menacing. In April, he was found guilty of criminal damaging in Medina Municipal Court and the aggravated menacing charge was dismissed.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.