The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 18, 2014

Ashtabula fugitive plucked from cooling pond at Painesville power plant

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — An armed Ashtabula man was arrested in Painesville after a foot chase with police that ended in the cooling pond of the city’s power plant.

Michael C. Williams, of 1947 Lambros Lane, first had trouble with the law Sunday night when Ashtabula Police Officer Wayne Howell stopped a vehicle on West 19th Street, near the intersection of Michigan Avenue.

“Williams was a backseat passenger and Officer Howell recognized him but he gave him a false name,” Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said. “Then Williams (jumped out and) ran.”

Police did not catch up with Williams, but they did find a loaded rifle in the backseat.

“We suspected it was used in Painesville on a (Jan. 10) shooting,” Stell said. “Nobody was hit but the three men in the car, including Williams, are suspects in a Painesville shooting.”

The driver was cited for driving without an operator’s license and Williams will be charged with possession of an assault rifle under disability, possession of marijuana, falsification, obstruction of official business and improper transport of a firearm, according to the police report.

Then at about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Painesville police responded to a report of an occupant of a green Ford Mustang brandishing a gun, according to police reports.

Police found Williams and the car at a Painesville gas station. When Williams saw the police, he fled on foot while carrying a handgun and ended up jumping into the cooling pond of the Municipal Electric Plant, Stell said.

Williams surrendered and was arrested without further incident. The gun was recovered from the pond, police said.

Williams was charged with third-degree felonies of having a weapon while under disability and tampering with evidence; a fourth-degree felony of carrying a concealed weapon, fifth-degree felony of obstructing official business and a first degree misdemeanor of resisting arrest, according to Painesville Municipal Court records.

Judge Michael Cicconetti set a $30,000 cash or surety bond at a Wednesday arraignment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21.

If convicted of the felony charges, Williams could spend up to 12 1/2 years in prison.