By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
A 37-year-old Geneva man who faces five felony charges stemming from a Saturday night carjacking and abduction of a a young area woman in Ashtabula.
Police arrested the man about two hours later after a wild pursuit on Route 11 and other roads. The victim escaped serious injury, officers said.
Eugene Falls, 125 Austin Road, has been charged with kidnapping, robbery, failure to comply and two counts of theft — all felonies, an Ashtabula Municipal Court spokeswoman said. Falls, arraigned Monday morning, remains in jail in lieu of $42,500 cash or surety bond, officials said. No preliminary hearing date had been scheduled as of Monday afternoon, the spokeswoman said.
The incident began about 11 p.m. Saturday at a Circle K store on Lake Avenue, said Police Chief Robert Stell. A vehicle pulled into the store’s lot and the driver went into the store, leaving a 23-year-old female passenger in the vehicle, Stell said.
A man who had been loitering outside the store then entered the vehicle and drove away, Stell said.
Police were able to track the vehicle’s estimated location using signals emitted by the victim’s cellular telephone, sheriff deputies report. Two hours later, about 1 a.m., a deputy — using those signals —positioned himself to intercept the vehicle in the area of Interstate 90 and Route 11, police said. When the vehicle drove past, the deputy gave chase.
The driver Ignored the deputy’s lights and sirens and instead accelerated, sliding on the icy road, deputies said. The vehicle exited Route 11 at Route 84, not stopping for a stop sign at the end of the ramp. The vehicle sped west on Route 84 after sliding into a bridge railing. The vehicle traveled through a stop sign at Route 84 and State Road, nearly striking two Ashtabula plow trucks, deputies said.
The vehicle continued west on East 51st Street, eventually sliding off the road at the intersection with Osburne Avenue, police said. The driver fled on foot, running toward the Ashtabula River gulf, deputies said. With the help of an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, the deputy located the suspect at the Riverview Apartments, sprawled on the ground next to a parked vehicle, according to reports.
The man, later identified as Falls, was arrested without incident, Stell said.
The victim bolted from the vehicle after Falls fled the vehicle, deputies said. The woman had been “traumatized by the incident” and was taken to a hospital by ambulance, deputies said.
Staff writer Shelley Terry contributed to this story