Traffic Stop For Burned Out Tail Lights Ends With High Speed Chase & Crash

Crimes and Courts

At 2:15 a.m., Bellaire Police saw a car driving without tail lights.

The officer activated his light bar, but the driver hit the gas and took off.

In the end, four police cruisers were damaged, two officers have abrasions and the suspect is jailed on a long list of charges.

Police say 39-year-old William Russell Thomas of Bridgeport took off all through the north end of Bellaire.

Four other police departments joined the chase–Bridgeport, Martins Ferry, the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

They say the driver hit speeds of 100 miles per hour.

“The pursuit continued on Route 7 with the State Patrol putting down road spikes,” explained Chief Mike Kovalyk of the Bellaire Police Department. “They got the vehicle stopped. There was damage to four cruisers, two from Bellaire and two from Bridgeport. When they activate their lights and sirens, they’re stopping you for a reason.”

Police suspect Thomas took off because he didn’t have a license and may have been under the influence.

Now he’s charged with those allegations plus aggravated vehicular assault, resisting arrest and more.

His bond is set at $81,150.

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