5 days without pay for 2 cops
I-680 chase in Jan. violated YPD policy
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Two city officers violated departmental policy and the city’s code of conduct and will get five days off without pay for a police chase through the city in January.
Lt. Douglas Bobovnyik and Lt. Jason Simon are suspended without pay from Saturday through March 23 after an internal-affairs review.
Both officers signed a form waiving a predetermination hearing and grievance procedures and accepted the discipline from Chief Jimmy Hughes.
Neither officer will be permitted to work as a city officer or perform any side police work during the suspension.
According to information obtained from city records, the officers were suspended for violations of the city’s pursuit policy and violations of the city’s code of conduct.
Hughes was not available to comment Thursday.
According to the internal-affairs investigation, Simon was traveling in the area of Salt Springs Road and Tyrell Avenue on the city’s West Side on Jan. 13 with a civilian ride-along passenger in the vehicle when he noticed a car fail to make a complete stop at a stop sign and also fail to use a turn signal when turning onto Salt Springs.
The investigation determined that Simon pursed the vehicle even after the car entered Interstate 680 going the wrong direction.
According to the report, Simon and the suspect car were traveling southbound on I-680 in the northbound lane.
The report goes on to say that Bobovnyik was traveling north on I-680 en route to assist Simon but reversed his position when he noticed Simon chasing the car in the wrong direction on 680. Bobovnyik began trailing Simon and the pursued auto.
The pursuit continued at speeds reaching 80 to 100 mph on roads thinly covered with snow, according to the report.
The suspect car eventually crossed into the southbound lane of 680 and left the freeway at Western Reserve Road.
Other officers, including Boardman police units, joined the pursuit as the driver of the suspect car got back on the freeway northbound and ultimately crashed at the exit ramp at Salt Springs Road.
Internal-affairs officers investigating the pursuit said Simon and Bobovnyik should have realized the outcome of the pursuit, based on the driver’s actions in the suspect car, would be some type of accident, since the driver was traveling the wrong way.
The city’s pursuit policy, in part, states the following:
“All police officers of this department must always be aware that police motor-vehicle pursuits may result in traffic accidents involving the officer, the fleeing suspect, an innocent bystander or vehicle or any combination of these three.
“It is for these reasons that each officer must weigh the seriousness of the situation against the hazards to the health and welfare of other citizens.”