She didn’t feel like a hero when she stopped a fleeing bank robber in his tracks.
Fact is, the stay-at-home mother says she didn’t feel much at all. The crash left her arm and leg numb and her head banged. She has yet to regain any feeling in her arm.
About the only thing she’s feeling now is disappointment over what happened as she drove to pick up her kids at school and the toll it has taken on her family, including her 4-year-old daughter who was also injured in the collision.
Officers at the crash scene tried to console Joannie Gingo, telling her she was a hero. Robert Campbell, whose getaway car slammed into the Coventry Township woman’s Mercury Mountaineer, was a wanted man, accused in a series of bank robberies.
But when news broke of Campbell’s arrest, there was no mention of Gingo, her child and their injuries. Since the Jan. 11 crash, she has spent hours seeking medical treatment, been bothered by solicitations from lawyers and doctors offering their services, all while trying to deal with three children and no transportation of her own.
What happened to the Gingo family is an example of the rippling effects of crime. While police got their man, Gingo and her husband, Tim, became victims. In the aftermath, they feel forgotten.
“What upsets us is that nobody knows that people were injured and all the stuff that has to go on for our family because of the accident,” Tim Gingo said. “It’s just disheartening that there’s been no mention of the injuries. It’s like we’re being punished for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
It was shortly after 2 p.m. and Joannie Gingo, 29, was driving down Manchester Road, just as she did most days, on her way to Kenmore Boulevard to Pfeiffer Elementary School to pick up her two children and her niece. Her 4-year-old daughter, Jordyn, was buckled up in the backseat.
Campbell, meanwhile, was driving east on Kenmore with Summit County Sheriff’s deputies following. Deputies say it was not a hot pursuit. Rather, they say they were following Campbell’s 1996 Chevrolet Corsica at a slow speed in keeping with department policy.
An Akron police report shows the deputies had their cruiser sirens and emergency lights activated. The deputies and Campbell were traveling at about 30 mph, the report said.
With a green light in her favor at the intersection, Gingo made her left turn. Campbell, however, wasn’t stopping and drove through the red light and smacked hard into the driver’s side of Gingo’s SUV, spinning the vehicle onto a curb.
“As soon I looked and heard the sirens, he hit me and I spun out and hit a pole, it was like a 180 [degree turn,] Gingo said.
While the deputies surrounded Campbell’s vehicle, another officer checked on Gingo and Jordyn. By this time, Gingo, shaken and confused from her head hitting her side window, had gotten out of her SUV and was holding her daughter on her lap.
“The cops ran over and said something to the effect, ‘Oh, you’re a hero. It’s bad it happened, but good too. It helped stop him,’ ” she said. “I didn’t feel like a hero. I just said please leave me alone, please stop talking.”
Gingo was checked by paramedics and was taken for treatment by her husband, who came to the scene. In addition to her arm and leg injuries, Gingo suffered a sprained neck and a concussion. Her daughter’s head was left with a knot, but otherwise unharmed. The SUV was totaled.
Afterward, deputies put out a press release announcing they had arrested Campbell, 31, as a suspect in three bank robberies this month. Gingo and her daughter were not named in the release nor were their injuries mentioned.
“What upsets me the most,” she said, “was that there was no mention of my 4-year-old who busted her head. I could not care less about me. But nobody has checked on us. They came and checked on us when it happened, but nothing was said after that.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Holland on Thursday contacted the Gingos and put them in touch with a crime victim counselor, who will help them through the process of filing a claim through the state to reimburse them for their financial losses.
While the Gingos question the speed of pursuit, Holland said deputies were following Campbell at low speed.
Holland said the department tried to protect the family’s privacy by not releasing details of the crash in a press release announcing Campbell’s arrest.
“Our department cares about victims,” he said. “We do all we can to help them.”
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.