Road rage incident that started in Niles leads to stabbing in Warren

Staff report


Michael W. Kovalak, 56, of Warren Avenue in Niles, was flown by helicopter to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital on Wednesday afternoon after being stabbed by another man during what police are calling a road-rage incident on Pine Avenue Southeast near downtown.

Police say Kovalak is in critical but stable condition.

A witness told The Vindicator Kovalak was driving a pickup truck on Warren Avenue in Niles when a car passed him near Waddell Park. The witness was behind both cars, she said.

Kovalak closely followed the car through Weathersfield Township and into Warren on Pine Avenue until both men got out of their vehicles near the entrance to the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program at 1:48 p.m., police said.

The witness said when she reached the two men again, they were wrestling on the ground, and there was “blood every where.”

Capt. Rob Massucci of the Warren Police Department said Kovalak used a stun gun/flashlight on the driver of the car, Ryan K. Datchuk, 36, of Washington Avenue in Niles. Datchuk then pulled out a knife and stabbed Kovalak multiple times, Massucci said.

Both Kovalak and Datchuk called police about the incident, as did the witness.

Police say Kovalak and Datchuk were no longer fighting when they arrived. Kovalak was on the curb, and Datchuk was sitting in his car, police said.

The witness said she spoke with Kovalak before he was taken to the hospital.

“I asked the gentleman straight out: ‘Why did you even chase him? Why didn’t you just let him go?’” she said. Kovalak told her he “didn’t want to talk about it,” she said.

Both men were taken from the scene by ambulances – Kovalak to ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital and then to St. Elizabeth’s. Datchuk was taken to St. Joseph Warren Hospital. He came to the police station Thursday and spoke with police.

Detectives have not yet spoken with Kovalak, Massucci said. A determination of what charges to file will occur after talking to him, Massucci said.

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