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Trucker helps end stolen cruiser chase



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The scene backed up westbound traffic on Interstate 76 for more than a mile.

YOUNGSTOWN -- What started as the routine arrest of a city woman turned into an interstate chase for Youngstown police officers late Friday afternoon, after police say the woman stole the cruiser in which she was sitting.

The woman, identified by a family member as Kim Kalasky, was in guarded condition in the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Health Center on Friday night, where she was transported after being taken back into custody.

The chase ended on Interstate 76 westbound, about a mile before the state Route 534 exit.

According to a report, police responded to 1946 Cherry Hill Ave., where the suspect's mother said Kalasky, 24, had stolen checks from her earlier in the week. Police say they found Kalasky hiding in the basement and that when she refused to cooperate with officers, they arrested Kalasky on a charge of obstructing official business, the report shows.

After transporting the woman, the report states, she slipped out of a handcuff, obtained a small knife and tried to stab officer Kenneth Blair. When Blair got out of his cruiser to avoid being injured, Kalasky crawled through a partition, at which time Blair used pepper spray on the suspect as she climbed into the driver's seat, the report says.

Blair was dragged about 35 yards and rolled over five or six times in an attempt to stop the cruiser, according to the report. He was treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

While in the Ukranian Orthodox Church parking lot, 1025 N. Belle Vista Ave., an officer saw the suspect in the stolen cruiser drive onto Interstate 680 and go north, the report says. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and Austintown police assisted.

Witnesses said a rolling roadblock trapped the woman between a tractor-trailer and a cruiser, which rammed the stolen cruiser into the back of the trailer. The chase backed up traffic for about a mile on I-76.

Before the arrest

Kalasky's brother, Tony Winterburn of Youngstown, said police had been called to their mother's house at 1946 Cherry Hill on the West Side on suspicion that his sister was trying to break into the house.

"It was wrong of her to take the police car, but the police did something wrong, too," he said. "We're just amazed that this happened."

The truck, which assisted police in the rolling roadblock, was owned by Alan Ritchey Inc. of Valley View, Texas. The driver declined to give his name or other information.

Kalasky was handcuffed and placed face down on a gurney into an ambulance.




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