Coroner IDs Huber police chase crash victim

Attorney general favors statewide standard on police pursuits.

The deceased male driver of the car Shackelford is accused of hitting with a stolen Chevrolet Impala was identified Friday as Marcus Harper, 50. No city of residence or any other information was made available by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Shackelford, 18, sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to police. Law enforcement officers believe she was impaired by alcohol at the time of the crash when they said she ran a red light at the intersection of Wagner Ford and Needmore roads and struck Harper’s Chevy Blazer.

Shackelford also was charged with failure to comply and grand theft auto.

No information was available about Harper’s passenger, who reportedly sustained serious injuries.

Shackelford once spit at a Dayton police officer after lying about her identity and was “disrespectful” and “rude” while she was being booked into the Juvenile Justice Center, according to police records.

Shackelford is being held in the Montgomery County Jail for the four charges announced Friday by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. The charges range from first- to fourth-degree felonies. No information was available late Friday afternoon about Shackelford’s court schedule.

A Huber Heights police report indicates that officer Mike Winterbotham pursued the stolen vehicle Shackelford allegedly drove. The pursuit included a stretch of Rip Rap Road.

“I initiated a traffic stop on a black Chevrolet Impala for marked lanes violations and for matching the description of a vehicle that was just stolen nearby in Butler Twp.,” Winterbotham wrote in the report.

Huber Heights police Chief Mark Lightner reiterated Friday that the chase was a proper execution of the department’s pursuit policy.

“The officer did exactly the way he was taught, the way he learned, and it was the way policy has told him to do,” Lightner said Friday.

Winterbotham remains on active duty and is not facing any disciplinary action, Lightner said.

Speaking generally, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he was in favor of a statewide standard on police pursuits.

“Every department, legally, can come up with their own policy,” DeWine said. “I think it would be helpful if there was a group put together to come up a best practices police-chase procedure in the state of Ohio.”

Thursday marked the most recent incident where Shackelford was taken into police custody. Last month she was charged with aggravated menacing after allegedly threatened her sister’s boyfriend with a gun and firing shots into the air on Feb. 12., according to a police report.

Shackelford allegedly pointed the gun at her sister’s boyfriend and fired shots in the air, yelling out to the 24-year-old Dayton man, “you know I’ll shoot you, right?” the boyfriend told police.

The charge against Shackelford was dismissed earlier this month, but the prosecutor’s office said she was required to complete an intervention program. In January, Shackelford’s sister accused her of breaking a window at her residence.

In December 2014, Shackelford twice lied about her name when she was in a vehicle stopped, according to a Dayton police report. She had a warrant for her arrest and was booked in on falsification, obstructing justice and assault.

“It should be noted that Shackelford had a disrespectful and rude attitude throughout our entire interaction with her,” the report said. “She has a clear problem with authority.”

Lightner said the chase, which reached speeds up to 80 mph and lasted less than three minutes, was justified and in compliance with the law enforcement agency’s vehicle pursuit policy.

According to the police department’s motor vehicle pursuit policy obtained by this newspaper, an officer can pursue a vehicle when a driver is “clearly exhibits the intention of avoiding apprehension.”

During a pursuit, the officer must activate the vehicle’s siren and emergency lights communicate information to the dispatcher such as the reason for the pursuit, location, speed and direction of travel and vehicle description and license number.

“The outcome of a pursuit does not dictate whether the pursuit was in compliance or not,” said Lightner, who indicated the policy has been tweaked since he started with the department in 1992. “The only thing that makes anything like that likely for a crash would be the behavior of the person being pursued.”

Lightner said the chase was justified because Shackelford’s “erratic driving” posed a great risk to other drivers. He also noted the suspect almost struck an oncoming police cruiser.

The chase started early Thursday when Winterbotham saw an Impala that matched the description of a vehicle reported stolen from the Speedway on Miller Lane in Butler Twp.

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