YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio State Highway Patrol and police from multiple agencies were involved in a slow chase with a semi Thursday that spanned several jurisdictions from Salem to Youngstown.
Police followed the Bobtail truck for about 30 miles, but said the person who reported the erratic driving had been following it for another 30 miles before calling Salem Police. The 911 caller said it was going through every stop sign.
That call led to the arrest of the driver, Ronald Lee Utt. He now faces a charge of fleeing and eluding, with additional charges pending.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott says Utt did not have a valid license.
“Usually something bad happens somewhere. Very lucky it ended the way it did,” Panezott said.
Police attempted to pull Utt over about 3 a.m. along State Street in Salem. At that time, officers said he was driving 47 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. Police followed the truck, but it didn’t stop.
Highway Patrol troopers put down spike strips on SR 46 in Canfield, but that didn’t work either.
The chase continued into Youngstown, where officers said Utt was passing through intersections without stopping, nearly hitting pedestrians and other vehicles.
Youngstown Police finally stopped the truck, which was riding on rims, near Saranac Avenue.
“I just heard ‘Stop!’ and ‘Get down!’ and all that stuff. It was just bad,” said witness Autumn Dodson.
Panezott says the truck involved was reported stolen out of Massillon and that ten miles away in Canton, Utt was entered as a missing and endangered person who, according to a YPD report, needed medication.
Youngstown Police arrested Utt and took him to St. Elizabeth Hospital for a medical evaluation, upon learning he was off of his medication.
“I’m just very happy it ended safely for everyone,” Panezott said.
Utt is in the Mahoning County Jail and Panezott says they’ll be talking with the prosecutor to figure out what charges to file against him.