Man jailed after chase; officer injured

LIBERTY — A man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase that left an officer injured after he crashed into a police cruiser was booked Saturday in the Trumbull County Jail.

Jerome Prieto, 32, 610 Kendis Circle Apt. A, Youngstown, was booked just before 2 a.m. on charges of having weapons under disability, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, failure to comply, receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon, jail records state.

The chase began around 7:30 p.m. Friday in Weathersfield and didn’t end until after 1 a.m. in a wooded area near the railroad tracks on Youngstown Hubbard Road, according to Liberty police Chief Toby Meloro. Liberty police did not give up in the search and the end result was the capture of Prieto, Meloro said.

“He gave up because he was deathly tired,” Meloro said. “He also gave us a full confession.”

Weathersfield police first tried to stop Prieto at Tibbetts Wick Road and U.S. Route 422. As an officer approached Prieto’s car he took off again, Meloro said.

Liberty police officer Chad McGarry was coming around a corner at Tibbetts Wick Road and Logan Way and Prieto’s vehicle T-boned McGarry’s cruiser on the driver’s side, ejecting him, Meloro said. McGarry was taken to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital with head contusions, bruising and some damage to his right elbow, but he is OK and was released after about six hours in the hospital, Meloro said.

Southbound traffic on Logan Way to Tibbetts Wick Road was closed Friday night as more than 30 officers searched fields, woods and a nearby horse farm. A police dog, thermal imaging camera and a helicopter were used in the search.

Police from Liberty, Vienna, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Youngstown, Hubbard Township and Vienna, among others, set up a perimeter around the wooded area to trap Prieto. Two stolen guns were found in the Buick LeSabre Prieto was driving, Meloro said, but he was unarmed when apprehended.