Nine Troy police officers responded to the report of a stolen vehicle that spurred Monday’s high-speed police pursuit that ended with the death of an innocent driver in Harrison Twp.
Troy police — who have a pursuit policy requiring an “immediate need for apprehension” — initiated the chase but later terminated it before the fatal crash that killed Anthony Hufford, 28, of Englewood.
Tipp City police Chief Eric Burris confirmed that one of his officers was the lead pursuer after Troy dropped back. Burris said another Tipp City officer fell back and radioed the lead cruiser, but that communication channels were garbled and the lead Tipp City officer never got the message.
Burris said it took 30 to 45 seconds for that officer to get to the scene and, by that time, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies already had the suspect in custody.
“The Troy Police Department and others were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle that was driving at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner,” said Troy police Capt. Shawn McKinney via a press release. “The criminal investigation of the incident is ongoing with the prosecutors’ office and other jurisdictions.”
Jordan Anthony Russell Harville, 24, of Clayton, allegedly stole a Ford F-250 pickup from near Fletcher. He later led multiple jurisdictions on a 25-plus mile chase that ended when the pickup struck a car driven by Hufford on South Dixie Drive.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Hufford, 28, died of blunt force injuries. Harville told police he was drunk and used heroin during the pursuit.
Troy police’s six-page pursuit policy states that pursuits are prohibited unless both of the following conditions are met: 1. There is probable cause to believe that the person(s) to be pursued is committing or has committed an offense which presents risk of serious physical harm or death. 2. There is an immediate need for apprehension.
Dispatch calls obtained by this news organization include one in which one dispatcher asks another: “In reference to that chase coming south on Dixie, what are they chasing for?”
In a second call, a male dispatcher says, “It’s county. Are you guys chasing somebody?” and a female voice responds, “Hang on.”
Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies heard a report of a stolen vehicle, and one deputy wrote that he heard a Troy police officer say he spotted the vehicle starting to pull away and that he initiated a pursuit, according to court records filed in Miami County Municipal Court.
“An administrative review of the pursuit will be completed once all the information from the several agencies is available,” Troy police’s release read. “It would be premature to comment on the pursuit until such a review has taken place.”
Court documents show that both Miami County deputies and Vandalia police tried to deploy spike strips but were unable to safely do so. Communication also was an issue, as three departments were on one radio channel.
“Throughout the pursuit the radio traffic was full of static, squealed and was unable to be heard,” a Miami County deputy wrote. The same deputy also wrote that he heard Troy terminate their role and that a Tipp City cruiser took the lead.
“While on Dixie I observed several Montgomery County agencies parked on the side of the road but had not seen any pursuing,” the deputy wrote, adding that he thought an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was going to take the lead, but did not. An OSHP spokesperson said Troy police would handle the investigation and said troopers did not take part in the pursuit.