COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A police chase that started in Pickaway County ended with a crash on Parsons Avenue in southern Franklin County Monday morning. It was the third high-profile police chase in Central Ohio over the past two days.
Early Sunday morning, what started as a simple traffic stop for speeding turned into high-speed pursuit that ended with a crash that killed two people.
Franklin County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Gilbert says the driver, Tavaughn Collins, was stopped for doing 70 in a 45 mile per hour zone. “The deputy stopped the car, walked up to the car and had brief contact with the driver advised the driver to put his windows down,” Gilbert said. “He was there for approximately 10 to 12 seconds at which time the driver then took off.”
Gilbert says only later did deputies learn that Collins,27, had an outstanding warrant for driving under suspension.
The pursuit ended with a crash on South James Rd. Collins and his 25-year-old sister, Olivia Collins were both thrown from the vehicle and died. Olivia Collins’ two children, two-year-old Zaria Brown and one-year-old Zaaki Brown were strapped in their car seats and survived the crash with only minor injuries.
Chief Gilbert says there are many variables in making a decision whether to pursue a fleeing suspect. “It’s indicative of individuals who have either contraband, warrants, maybe the car is stolen, a weapon is involved, maybe they have been involved in a crime – those are all the things that are going through a deputy’s mind at that time in the morning when a car is fleeing,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert says time of day, weather and traffic conditions are all considerations when making a decision to engage or disengage in a pursuit. “Our pursuit policy isn’t a cookie cutter policy,” Gilbert said. “It’s a policy that permits a deputy to continue to engaging in pursuit of a vehicle and or disengaging and it also has a component that a supervisor is monitoring who also can assist with that decision.”
Sunday night, a Columbus man was killed and two children in his vehicle were critically injured in a crash during a police pursuit in Pickaway County.
The Ohio State High Patrol says Yoni Cruz Martinez, 35, of Columbus was driving at a high rate of speed when the vehicle went off the road and struck a tree.
Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two other passengers, a 3-year-old child and a 4-year-old child, were critically injured in the crash and were taken by helicopter to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Monday’s pursuit involved a suspect in an alleged carjacking. The chase started in Pickaway County, went through parts of Fairfield County and the into Franklin County.
Gilbert says assisting in that pursuit was an easy decision. “Not only are we going to assist that agency but we have to be mindful that we’ve got an armed individual who has carjacked a vehicle and…now he’s here in franklin county,” Gilbert said. “So now we have to ensure for the residents safety and to ensure that he’s not going to commit any further crimes.”
Gilbert says stop sticks were successfully deployed on the suspect’s vehicle near Parsons Ave. and Frebis Ave. and the vehicle crashed a shot while later.