The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 5, 2013

Driver nearly strikes officer, faces charges

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — A Kansas man came within inches of striking a Conneaut police officer at the scene of a Saturday traffic crash on Interstate 90, according to reports.

Ryan Bell, 21, of Lawrence, Kansas, has been charged with reckless operation, according to a Conneaut Municipal Court spokeswoman. Bell is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 12, she said.

The incident took place around 11:30 p.m. on the westbound lanes of I-90, about two miles east of Route 7, police said. Earlier in the evening, officers had been sent to the scene after a tractor-trailer rig flipped after it drove off the north side of the road. The crash completely blocked the westbound lanes, causing officers to close the lanes between routes 7 and 193.

While maintaining traffic control on the freeway near the Route 7 ramps, Patrolman Jason Rivers was beginning to exit his cruiser when he noticed a pickup truck approaching at a high rate of speed.

 “The vehicle was traveling between 65 and 70 mph,” Rivers stated in his report.

Rivers was able to jump back into his cruiser just as the truck drove past, he said.

The truck ran over flares and traffic cones Rivers placed in the roadway . Rivers radioed the incident to another officer, who stopped the truck a short distance away. The driver, later identified as Bell, said he never saw the cruiser “despite all the flashing lights,” the officer wrote.