Deputy in pursuit that ended in crash also disciplined for chase that killed pedestrian

Franklin County Sheriff's Office

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says a high-speed chase that ended in a crash may have violated policy.

And 10TV has learned, one of the deputies involved has a history of violating pursuit policy.

The chase on November 11 ended in a crash with what the Sheriff's Office calls minor injuries.

Advertisement - Story continues below

But just nine months ago, one of the deputies involved here was in a chase that ended with the death of a pedestrian.

Franklin County Sheriff's Office cruiser video shows Monday's chase from start to finish.

It began at 1:55 in the afternoon, when a deputy noticed the plate on this Ford F-150 came back to an Acura. The driver refused to stop.

The pursuit moves from Georgesville Road to Sullivant Avenue.

In a 35 mile an hour zone, speeds reach 75 miles an hour, then 89, then 94 miles an hour.

The truck blows through two red lights, then a third, where it collides with an SUV at the intersection of Sullivant and Glenwood.

The Sheriff's Office says 59-year-old Joseph Collins was the driver who wouldn't stop.

He was hospitalized- others he crashed into suffered what investigators call minor injuries.

Collins is facing charges including OVI and driving under suspension.

But the deputies who chased him are also facing tough questions.

"What's in question here is the actions of the deputies as well as the supervisors involved, as to whether or not it falls within policy," said Franklin County Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert. "As their chief, I have concerns with why the pursuit wasn't terminated, based on road conditions, traffic at that time, as well as speeds."

Gilbert says it appears they violated the Sheriff's pursuit policy.

And for one of those deputies, it wouldn't be the first time.

Lt. Ed Schillig was disciplined failing to terminate a February pursuit that turned fatal.

Video from his cruiser showed him chasing a stolen car as it drove into oncoming traffic.

It also showed the stolen car hit pedestrian Arthur Smith, sending him flying into the air and crashing onto the pavement. Smith later died.

Glenn McEntyre: "How concerned are you that a lieutenant who was involved in a chase that violated policy that led to the death of a pedestrian, less than a year later is involved in another high-speed pursuit that ends in a crash that may have also violated policy?"
Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert: "Here's the thing you have to consider: we're talking about deputies and supervisors that are tasked every day with going out and having contact with the public. So when you're having numerous contacts with the public, we can quarterback all day long the video. We can quarterback all day long the actions...they're out there every day risking their lives and making these split-second decisions."
Glenn McEntyre: "What do you say to people who have concerns about bystanders who are maybe caught in the crossfire in an incident like this?"
Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert: "The first thing I would say is there is a criminal element out there that don't care about your safety, my safety or their own safety. If we terminated the pursuit and then (Collins) continued to drive down the road and still struck those individuals, he doesn't care. He doesn't care about what havoc he causes.
Glenn McEntyre: "The question is would he be traveling at 90 miles an hour down Sullivant if he weren't being pursued?
Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert: "I don't know. You'd have to ask him that."

The day before the crash that killed Arthur Smith, 10TV aired an investigation into concerns about pursuits by the Sheriff's Office.

Shortly after Smith's accident, Sheriff Dallas Baldwin made changes to the policy, urging tighter supervision.

The Sheriff's Office says since then, the number of pursuits is down 34 percent.

Previous Coverage

Filed under: