Friday, January 14, 2000

Suspect eludes police chase


Driver runs after wreck

BY PHILLIP PINA and JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Tristate police searched into the night Thursday for a Cincinnati assault suspect who led police on a high-speed car chase into Covington before fleeing on foot.

        Officers hunted for the driver in a Covington neighborhood. The man had eluded Cincinnati police from Price Hill into Northern Kentucky, striking several vehicles. At least two people were injured.

        Late Thursday, police identified the suspect as Leon Stamper, 41, a white male with brown hair and hazel eyes. He stands about 5-foot-9 and weighs about 170 pounds.

        Cincinnati police officers spotted the suspect's car, an older-model Pontiac, at Elberon and State streets at 4:24 p.m. Thursday. It matched the description of a vehicle used in the mugging of an elderly College Hill woman the day before, police said.

        Cincinnati police said the driver is wanted in Ohio on charges of felonious sexual penetration and robbery.

        Officers pursued through Lower Price Hill, across Queensgate and onto southbound Interstate 75, Cincinnati police said. Officers reported seeing objects being thrown from the vehicle, police added.

        The chase continued across the Brent Spence Bridge into Covington, with the suspect's car striking a few vehicles, Cincinnati police said. The suspect then took the 12th Street Covington exit.

        Annette Grooms' little Metro shook as the maroon Pontiac flew by.

        “I just laid on the horn and watched him go,” she said. On 12th Street in front of Jillian's, Ellis Howell's Ford Ranger XLT was hit. Two people from the van were taken to the hospital, he said.

        The witnesses saw the suspect jump out of his wrecked car and run toward Linden Grove Cemetery. Police officers and sheriff's deputies searched the area until dark.

        Neither Mr. Howell nor Ms. Grooms saw any Cincinnati police officers behind the car. The Cincinnati officers did not arrive, they said, until after Covington officers did.

        Those injured in the accident were Carlos Hernandez, 31, and Andres Ramos, 28, both of Covington. They were treated at Covington's St. Elizabeth Medical Center North and released Thursday night. A third person, Cesario Hernandez, 21, of Covington, was taken to the same hospital, but required no treatment.

       



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