Several incidents on Friday kept local police and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers busy throughout Portage County.
Authorities were searching Friday for a man who crashed a stolen car through a fence at the S.R. 44 exit of the Ohio Turnpike and fled into the night.
Lt. Joe Mannion of the Hiram Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said a trooper had stopped the eastbound vehicle for speeding at Mile Post 189 in Streetsboro just after 3 a.m. The driver took off and, after a short pursuit, failed to make the curve at the exit and crashed through the fence and into a soybean field. The driver fled on foot headed north toward Mantua.
The suspect was described as a black male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, thin, wearing a black shirt and sweat pants and wearing a black baseball cap with gold lettering. He was carrying a black backpack when last seen.
The search caused authorities to alert Crestwood school officials Friday morning.
A police dog used in the search lost the scent just north of Beck Road. The search was joined by Mantua police and the Portage County Sheriff's Office. Authorities were using aircraft in the search, including a volunteer using his own cropdusting helicopter, Mannion said.
Mannion said the vehicle was reported stolen from a Michigan used car lot. There were no injuries to the trooper and no damage at the tollbooth other than the fence, Mannion said.
Superintendent David Toth of the Crestwood Local Schools said the district was alerted to the incident at 7:45 a.m. Friday, just as buses were picking up students. Parents were alerted by phone message and building principals were asked to keep students inside for the day.
"We have never been on lockdown," Toth said. "You want to err on the side of caution. The kids were safe."
It was not the only incident troopers were dealing with early Friday morning. WKYC-TV reported on their website that the body of Kathy A. Pratt, 45, was found on Bryant Road in Windham Township near the Ohio Turnpike overpass at about 5 a.m.
A dispatcher at the highway patrol's Ravenna Post said that no supervisors were available to speak about the incident as of 12:35 p.m.
According to WKYC, Pratt was pronounced dead at the scene. The case is being investigated by the highway patrol and the Portage County Coroner's Office, the website reported. It could not immediately be determined if the death is related to the earlier chase on the Turnpike.
Pratt was apparently found only about two miles from her last known address, which according to Portage County court records is 9991 N. Chapel St. in Windham Township.
At the time, troopers were handling a number of incidents, including an overturned semi truck in the westbound lanes of Interstate 76 just past the Tallmadge Road exit in Brimfield. Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver said drivers were told to expect delays, especially at the S.R. 43 and Tallmadge Road exits.
Record-Courier reporters Dave O'Brien, Mike Sever and Diane Smith contributed to this story.