Three people were arrested after the driver fled from police and could face additional charges.
MASSILLON Officials are reviewing camera footage from a multi-jurisdictional pursuit after a driver fled from police during a traffic stop Tuesday night.
Three people were arrested and could face additional charges, Massillon Lt. Mike Maier said.
The driver of the vehicle, Joshua C. Leach, 40, of Barberton, was charged with felony fleeing, falsification and failure to comply with officers. Andrew Taylor, 35, of Akron, was charged with aggravated possession of drugs and obstructing official business. Taylor, who owned the vehicle, was a passenger.
The chase began after Massillon Officer Aaron Franklin observed a reckless driver and initiated a traffic stop along Southway Street SW near Coolidge Avenue SE.
When Franklin approached the vehicle, the driver put the vehicle in gear and sped off nearly running over the officer, Maier said.
The front passenger, Craig Blackshear, 35, of Canton, bailed out of the fleeing vehicle.
Blackshear was charged with felony having weapons while under disability, carrying a concealed weapon and defacing a firearm. He was transported to Tuscarawas County, where he was wanted on a warrant.
Another Massillon officer, who was conducting an unrelated traffic stop in the area, pursued the fleeing vehicle, Maier said.
The pursuit continued along Southway toward the Harrison Avenue area of Canton, where the driver circled the area, he said, before heading onto Shepler Church Avenue and to Interstate 77. Ohio Highway Patrol joined Massillon during the pursuit.
Maier said the driver attempted to strike oncoming traffic head on, veering into the path of vehicles. No vehicles were struck and no one was injured, he said.
During the chase, Canton police officers shut down ramps along the I-77. The Canton officers told Massillon PD the vehicle and person fit a description of person wanted in a Canton shooting, Maier said.
It is unclear at this time if any of the people in the vehicle were involved in the shooting, he said.
The driver exited the highway at the Whipple exit, which is closed for construction, heading down the grassy the median and onto the closed ramp, Maier said.
Jackson Township police found the abandoned vehicle behind Movies 10, 6284 Dressler Road.
A woman who was a passenger along with Taylor made their way to nearby Table Six Kitchen and called dispatch.
The woman was not charged, Maier said.
Leach was found in the restroom of Quaker Steak & Lube and arrested.
"A lot of stuff happened last night," Maier added. "We don't normally pursue but after he almost struck an officer and was possibly a suspect in a shooting we went a little bit further than we normally would go. It all worked out. No one was injured."
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