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Leavittsburg resident pleads guilty in chase

WARREN — A Leavittsburg man Monday pleaded guilty to charges linked to a May 28 police chase that included a Braceville police cruiser being rear-ended by the defendant’s dump truck.

Joseph Dempsey Jr., 33, 529 Ruth Ave., faces up to four and a half years in prison when he’s sentenced later by Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter J. Kontos on charges of failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer and assault.

A sentencing date has not been set. Dempsey must first undergo a presentence investigation.

According to a police report, an officer was on patrol about 10 p.m. on state Route 5 when he saw a dump truck cut across all five lanes of traffic without signaling, almost hitting two vehicles.

The chase began on Ravenna Warren Road, when the truck stopped. Before the officer could walk to the truck, it drove off, starting another pursuit, according to the report.

At a point where the speed approached 45 mph, the driver hit his brakes, causing the patrol car to swerve to avoid a crash. The truck driver then accelerated and crossed into the other lane, striking the rear of the police car, the report states.

The dump truck proceeded down a driveway in the 3900 block of Ravenna Warren Road, but the Braceville vehicle could not follow because the engine died, the report states. The dump truck continued down a fence line back onto Ravenna Warren Road, where police from Newton Falls picked up the chase. The driver abandoned his dump truck and was caught while trying to run away in the woods, the report states.

Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Michael A. Burnett said the assault charge was due to Dempsey’s showing intent to harm the officer.

Dempsey, who remains at the Trumbull County Jail, on Sept. 9 pleaded guilty to a fentanyl-related drug possession charge. That case was transferred to Trumbull County Drug Court.

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