Lorain, OH – A combative man brawled with police before he stole a patrol vehicle and led officers on a high-speed pursuit across two counties on Friday morning (video below).
The incident began after a mental health facility contacted the Lorain Police Department to request a welfare check on 30-year-old Brandon Pettry, WEWS reported.
The officers responded to the residence on Livingston Street, along with medical personnel, The Chronicle reported.
According to Pettry’s mother, Chris Pettry, he had been struggling with mental health issues for the past month, and was just released from a Cleveland hospital on Wednesday.
When the officers and EMTs arrived to check his welfare, the ambulance crew opted not to transport him back to a hospital because he said he had taken his medication, and proved to them that he knew his name, Chris said.
“I told them it was a mistake and he might hurt himself or others,” she told The Chronicle. “This was a mother’s cry for help. I’m devastated. My heart’s broken.”
Police soon discovered that Pettry had outstanding warrants out of two separate jurisdictions, Lorain Police Lieutenant Michael Failing said. One involved a probation violation on a breaking an entering offense, while the other was due to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Lorain police took Pettry into custody, then transferred him to another location to hand him over to Lorain County Sheriff’s Office deputies, WEWS reported.
But when the officers and deputy moved Pettry from one vehicle to another, he began resisting their efforts and was able to break free, video footage of the incident showed.
Police said they were transferring his handcuffs when the scuffle broke out, WEWS reported.
The officers attempted to circle around Pettry as he jumped around, throwing punches and kicking at them.
At one point, one of the officers was knocked to the ground, where he remained for several moments.
Pettry ultimately circled behind one of the patrol vehicles, where he was able to jump inside a cruiser that was left unattended, and took off.
A rifle was inside the patrol car, police said.
“There’s guns in there, there’s usually vests, everything a police officer would carry,” Lt. Failing told WKYC. “The fact he didn’t hit someone is amazing.”
“Had it just been an empty car, we have GPS – we probably would not have pursued it,” the lieutenant told WEWS. “It takes it to a different level if there’s a weapon in the car.”
The officers immediately gave chase, and contacted the Ohio State Highway Patrol for assistance at approximately 11:50 a.m., The Plain Dealer reported.
For the next half hour, officers pursued Pettry at speeds of over 100 miles per hour, as he sped through two counties.
He was able to avoid one set of spike strips in Erie County, but ultimately punctured one tire on a second set of spike strips near the Thunderbird Golf Course, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth told The Plain Dealer.
According to a witness, the cruiser went airborne before it crashed into a ditch, The Chronicle reported.
Pettry was taken into custody, and was transported to a local hospital for a head laceration, Sheriff Sigsworth told The Plain Dealer.
The two Lorain police officers were also treated for minor injuries, and new charges against Pettry are pending, Lt. Failing told WKYC.
You can watch footage of the officers’ scuffle with Pettry in the video below: