Suspect in police chase held in lieu of $225,000 in bonds

By Shelby Schroeder

The Niles man rear-ended a police van during the chase, authorities said.

WARREN — A Niles man accused of leading officers on a chase Saturday will await trial behind bars in lieu of two bonds set at a total of $225,000 by judges in Niles and Warren.

According to police records, Harley Tibbs, 28, of East South Street, Niles, was signaled to pull to the side of the road after an officer observed him traveling 17 mph over the speed limit.

He failed to stop and started a chase that would span four communities, police said.

Initially, Tibbs stopped for a Niles officer in front of Alberini’s Restaurant on U.S. Route 422, but when the officer approached his vehicle — a Chevrolet Blazer owned by the passenger — Tibbs accelerated and narrowly missed hitting the officer’s feet, police said.

Tibbs weaved through traffic on 422, the officer reported, before entering the city of Warren, where officers were dispatched.

Police said Tibbs rear-ended a police van stopped in his path in front of the Warren Police Department, but the chase continued.

He sped through Champion into Southington townships before losing control of the SUV and crashing into a ditch at the intersection of Eagle Creek and Braceville Robinson roads in Southington. Tibbs escaped on foot, and a K-9 unit was unable to find him, police said.

But the next day, officers arrested Tibbs and placed him in Trumbull County Jail.

According to court documents, Tibbs has a lengthy police record, and in the past he has been found guilty of theft, possession of drugs, falsifying information, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, burglary, robbery, driving while under suspension and receiving stolen property.

In July 2006, Tibbs sped away from an officer who stopped him on Vienna Avenue in Niles, nearly hitting the patrolman before eluding Niles police, according to documents.

On Monday, he was arraigned on a total of five charges by the cities of Niles and Warren — felonious assault, failure to comply, fleeing and eluding, driving under suspension and disregard of safety.

In Niles Municipal Court, Judge Daniel Thomas set Tibbs’ bond at $75,000; shortly thereafter, by video arraignment, Judge Terry Ivanchak of Warren’s Municipal Court set the Niles man’s bond at $150,000.

Police records show Gina Valeriani was in the passenger seat during the chase. Valeriani, who shares a home address with Tibbs, told officers she was unsure why he eluded police.

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