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Police report details fatal I-71 shooting

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The Interstate 71 southbound exit at mile marker 222 is shown Wednesday. The road was closed early Tuesday morning because of a Strongsville police chase that resulted in an officer fatally shooting Roy Evans Jr. LAWRENCE PANTAGES / GAZETTE

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A police report chronicles a 14-minute high-speed chase that ended early Tuesday morning when a Strongsville police officer fatally shot a Lorain man on Interstate 71 in Medina County.

Roy Evans Jr., 37, was killed after the van carrying him, a female passenger and three children was stopped after running over road spikes set up by the Ohio Highway Patrol in the southbound lane just past the state Route 3 exit on I-71.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said Wednesday afternoon he was unable to confirm whether a weapon was found inside the van driven by Evans. The police report refers to a man “reaching around down below, lighting a cigarette” one minute before the shooting occurred.

Strongsville Assistant Police Chief John Janowski said the department is not releasing the identity of the officer who shot Evans.

Janowski said it has been more than six years since an officer-involved shooting in the department.

He did release a report with these details:

  • The chase begins at 2:26 a.m. when police try to stop a “club wagon red” vehicle in the northbound lane of I-71 for a traffic violation.
  • Evans leaves the highway at the Pearl Road exit and drives toward Sprague Road before returning to I-71 southbound.
  • Officers report Evans is driving without headlights and what looks like a smoking engine. Middleburg Heights police are advised.
  • At 2:28, the patrol relays to Strongsville police that it is “responding with spikes” and at 2:31 the patrol is “setting up spikes.” The report notes that “conditions are favorable” and there is “no traffic.”
  • At 2:36, the van drives over spike strips at mile marker 225.4 with a reported speed of 95 mph.
  • At 2:39 with the van slowing to 32 mph, officers report they see a white male “balding” and “reaching around down below, lighting a cigarette.”
  • At 2:40, “shots fired.”

Medina County sheriff’s Capt. Kenneth Baca said Wednesday the Sheriff’s Office was called to close I-71 between mile markers 220 (Route 3) and 222 (near the state Route 18 exit) after the shooting. The highway reopened about 8 a.m.

Medina Township Police Chief David Arbogast said officers from his department arrived at the conclusion of the shooting.

Medina police Lt. Dave Birckbichler said Medina and Medina Township dispatched a Life Support Team to the scene.

The Gazette has requested dashboard camera video from Strongsville police, as well as Medina Township police, Medina police, the Sheriff’s Office and highway patrol.

Evans’ body was transported to the Cuyahoga County medical examiner.

The BCI said the female passenger and children were not harmed. The office also said no officers were hurt but two Strongsville police vehicles were damaged.

In 2014, Evans pleaded guilty in Lorain County Common Pleas Court to felonious assault after stabbing a man 14 times during a New Year’s Eve fight. Evans served two years in prison and was released Sept. 28. An additional charge of attempted murder in the incident was dropped in exchange for his plea.

Gazette reporter Bob Finnan contributed to this report. Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or nmalenic@medina-gazette.com.



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