Man accused of almost running over Vienna officer

GIRARD — A Texas man is facing several charges after an incident Friday in which police said he tried to run over a township officer, who then fired his weapon at the man.

Jason B. Utley, of Houston, is facing charges of  felonious assault, failure to comply with the order or signal of a law enforcement officer, driving under the influence, and driving under an OVI suspension, according to Girard Municipal Court records. Utley remained at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital Tuesday because of injuries sustained in a crash stemming from Friday’s incident.

A Vienna police officer is on sick leave because of injuries he sustained Friday when Utley attempted to get away from him, according to Vienna police Chief Bob Ludt.  The chief would not identify the officer, but court records show officer Michael Sheehy was the arresting officer.

Utley is accused of being involved in a hit-and-run accident on East Market Street in Howland while driving his silver Mercedes Benz .

According to an Ohio State Highway Patrol report, Utley was driving east  in the left lane on East Market Street when he crossed over into the right lane, hitting a Toyota Camry driven by Brookfield resident Judith F. Demay, 6210 Warren Sharon Road.

A passenger in Demay’s vehicle called 911 for assistance. They followed the vehicle into Vienna Township on Warren Sharon Road, the report states. A Vienna police officer stopped Utley’s vehicle, but he fled, nearly running over the officer, according to a police report.

The officer shot at the car and Utley’s vehicle crashed into a ditch in the area of Warren Sharon Road and Centennial Drive. Utley was not hit by the gunfire.

“It is unknown what damage occurred during the crash on East Market Street due to  the heavy damage from the second crash in Vienna Township,” according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol report.

Utley, according to the patrol report,  had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from him. He also had bloodshot and glassy eyes and his speech was impaired, the report states.

A field sobriety test was not administered because the Vienna Police Department already had him in handcuffs when the highway patrol arrived on the scene of the accident. Utley’s blood-alcohol level and drug tests, which were  taken at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, indicates he had a 0.378 blood-alcohol content, the police report states. The legal limit for driving in Ohio is 0.08.

Demay told investigators the driver of the silver Mercedes with Texas license plates that sideswiped her Toyota was driving off the roadway, speeding and traveling too close to other vehicles.

Ludt said his officer received minor injuries, but was treated and released from St. Elizabeth Hospital.  The officer is on sick leave and will not return to work until he receives medical clearance.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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