June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

‘Suicide by cop’ driver facing more charges

MEDINA — A 22-year-old Brunswick man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase to commit “suicide by cop” has been charged with aggravated vehicular assault.

Luke Pfeiler, of 3327 Valley Forge Drive, already was awaiting trial on a charge of failing to obey a police officer, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

His new charge also is a third-degree felony — bumping the maximum possible sentence for the May 23 chase to six years.
Pfeiler pleaded not guilty to his charges in June but changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in July. The case is on hold until a competency evaluation can be completed.

He’s scheduled for arraignment on his new charge Monday before Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.
At his first arraignment hearing, Pfeiler appeared in court with a walker, an arm and a leg in casts and a foot in a brace — injuries he sustained in the crash.

Pfeiler was stopped May 23 by police on Montville Drive. But when the officer approach Pfeiler’s vehicle, he sped away.
The chase — caught almost entirely on the dashboard camera of the cruiser — reached speeds as high as 70 mph. After a few minutes, Pfeiler’s vehicle collided with a Montville service department truck driven by maintenance supervisor Dennis Clapper.

Pfeiler was removed from his vehicle using hydraulic cutters and was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, police reported.

Clapper was taken to Akron General Hospital in serious condition and has since been discharged. Pfeiler has been held at the county jail on $300,000 bond.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.