July 23, 2016

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‘Suicide by cop’ driver gets prison for police chase

MEDINA — A 22-year-old Brunswick man will spend nine months in prison for injuring a motorist during a high-speed police chase through Montville Township on May 23.

Luke Pfeiler, of 3327 Valley Forge Drive, was convicted Friday of failing to obey a police officer and vehicular assault, third-degree felonies.

Luke Pfeiler

Luke Pfeiler

His ex-girlfriend said Pfeiler was trying to “commit suicide by cop.”

Pfeiler also was convicted of a fifth-degree felony charge unrelated to the chase. He was accused of expelling a “bodily substance” at a police officer in January.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier sentenced Pfeiler immediately after he pleaded guilty to all charges.

In addition to his prison sentence, Collier also banned Pfeiler from driving for three years.

Pfeiler faced a maximum punishment of eight years in prison.

Pfeiler’s case was delayed in court for competency and sanity hearings. He was found competent in October after being indicted in June. He pleaded not guilty at first, but changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in July.

Police reported they stopped Pfeiler on Montville Drive, but Pfeiler sped away as an officer approached his vehicle. The chase — almost entirely caught on the dashboard camera of the police cruiser — reached speeds as high as 70 mph.

The chase ended when Pfeiler crashed his vehicle into a Montville Township Service Department truck driven by a maintenance supervisor. Pfeiler was removed from his vehicle using hydraulic cutters and was taken by helicopter to a hospital.

The maintenance supervisor was transported to a hospital in serious condition.

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.