Report: Campbell PD officer got stuck in fleeing vehicle

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – A Campbell police officer was injured Monday afternoon while making a traffic stop.

According to police, Officer Daniel Baker saw a red Chevrolet driving erratically on Wilson Avenue near Coitsville Road about 4 p.m. Baker said the driver kept going left of center and did not use his turn signal, noting in his report that the driver was possibly driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Because there was a lot of traffic and the roads were wet, Baker said he was unable to catch up to the vehicle until it reached the Center Street Bridge near Poland Avenue. The report states because the traffic light turned red, Baker was unable to stop the vehicle until it turned on Poland Avenue at Fifthian Street.

Baker and Officer Joseph Patton approached the vehicle and told the driver the reason for the stop and asked for his license, registration and proof of insurance. The report states the driver, identified as Derek Culver, 41, of Idora Avenue in Youngstown, did not have his registration or proof of insurance.

Baker asked Culver for consent to search the vehicle, to which Culver replied “no,” the report states. Baker walked back to his cruiser to write a traffic citation for erratic driving and failure to signal a turn when Patton saw Culver reaching for something in the center console. Patton told Culver to stop, but when Culver reached for that area again, Patton ordered him to turn the vehicle off and place his hands on the steering wheel, the report states.

However, instead of turning off the vehicle, Culver shifted into gear and Patton reached inside to turn the vehicle off when Culver began to drive off with Patton still hanging onto the passenger side window, the report states. Baker began to pursue Culver, who was speeding and swerving all over the road.

Patton attempted to shut off the engine, but Culver began trying to push Patton out of the vehicle by shoving him and punching him with a closed fist, according to the report. Patton was able to grab Culver’s arm and pull himself halfway into the vehicle and put the vehicle in park.

However, Culver put the vehicle back into drive and he and Patton struggled inside the vehicle while Culver was driving 45 mph. The report states Culver swung at Patton’s head with a black object that later was identified as an expandable baton. Patton ducked and then struck Culver in the face with a closed fist. The two exchanged punches while fighting for control of the steering wheel and gear shift.

Patton then pulled the gear shift off the steering column and struck Culver with it, forcing the vehicle to stop. Culver continued punching and slapping Patton, so Officer Rob Vukovich used his Taser to subdue Culver by stunning him in his mid-back area and ordering him to stop resisting, the report states. Once Culver stopped fighting, Vukovich forcibly pulled him out of the vehicle and arrested him.

Culver was bleeding from his forehead, so Life Fleet workers checked him out, but he refused to go to the hospital. Patton was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment of a bruised shin, several cuts and a possible broken right rand. He was dragged by Culver’s vehicle for approximately a quarter mile, police said.

According to the police report, during an inventory of the vehicle, officers found an expandable baton in the driver’s seat where Culver was sitting and a stun gun in the center console.

Culver was taken to the Mahoning County Jail, where he is being held without bond pending his arraignment on Tuesday in Campbell Municipal Court.

He is facing charges of felonious assault on a police officer, obstruction, fleeing and eluding, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and several traffic violations.

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