August 21, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
79°F

Alcohol suspected in crash that hurt police officer

LIVERPOOL TWP. — Alcohol may have contributed to the crash early Saturday morning that sent an off-duty North Olmsted police officer to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

“Alcohol appears to be a factor, but that’s all I can say at this time,” said Sgt. Jason Bittinger of the patrol’s Medina post.

The patrol reported Dalton P. Phillips, 23, of Columbia Station, crashed into a car driven by 14-year veteran officer Jack A. Justice, 43, of Liverpool Township, shortly after midnight Saturday on Station Road, north of Grafton Road.

Bittinger said Phillips fled to his home, about a half-mile away, and later was transported to Southwest General Hospital in Middleburg Heights. He has since been released.

Bittinger said Phillips submitted to a blood-alcohol test while a patient, but said the test could take several weeks to return results.

Justice was transported via helicopter to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition Monday.

Bittinger said the crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.

According to patrol reports, Phillips was northbound in a 1992 Dodge Ram pickup when he lost control around a curve and went off the east side of road. He overcorrected and went left of center, crashing head-on into Justice’s 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt.

The truck went off the west side of the road, struck a ditch and overturned.

Medina County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the Valley City Fire Department assisted on scene.

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