Niles man flees Youngstown OVI checkpoint

YOUNGSTOWN — Joseph M. Bianco, 46, of Niles, casually rested his left arm out the window of his car as he traveled at high speeds, showing no regard for the safety of others after fleeing from on OVI checkpoint in Youngstown late Friday, according to police.

Bianco ultimately drove to his home in the Royal Mall apartments in Niles, parked the car and was taken into custody. He was taken to the Mahoning County jail, charged with felony fleeing and eluding, an offense that could result in about three years in prison if he is convicted.

Bianco was arraigned Monday afternoon in Youngstown Municipal Court, but was still in the county jail Monday afternoon. He is set for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. May 28. No plea was required during arraignment because it is a felony. Bond was set at $10,000.

A Youngstown police report states that Youngstown officers were working in conjunction with the Mahoning County OVI Task Force at 11:53 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of a commercial address at 1535 Mahoning Ave. when they were alerted that a dark-colored vehicle failed to stop for the checkpoint. Officers yelled at the driver to stop, but he did not and continued to travel east on Mahoning.

There was a sign alerting drivers that they were approaching an OVI checkpoint and to prepare to stop with a speed bump at the start of the checkpoint, the report states.

Officers then tried to make a traffic stop on the vehicle, a Ford Fusion. Lt. Robert Gentile activated his lights and siren, but the vehicle continued onto Interstate 680 south and then accelerated, and a pursuit ensued. The driver exited onto Glenwood Avenue and drove on Edwards Street, disregarding traffic control devices, driving recklessly by running stop signs and traffic lights and reached speeds greater than 90 mph throughout the South Side, the report states.

He later re-entered I-680, this time northbound, exiting at Salt Springs Road, flattening his tire when he apparently struck a curb. Bianco was “casually driving with sparks flying with his arm rested outside of the vehicle as he was fleeing at high speeds showing no regard for the safety of others on the roadways,” the report states.

The vehicle continued north on Salt Springs Road with sparks coming from the flat right rear tire. The vehicle entered Weathersfield. Officers learned that the registered owner of the vehicle, Bianco, lived on Royal Mall Drive in Niles, which was the direction the vehicle was traveling. Lt. Gentile deactivated his lights and siren and continued to follow at a safe distance. Eventually the Fusion had only a rim and no tire.

In Niles, a Weathersfield officer got in front of the Youngstown officer and activated lights and siren, signaling for the vehicle to stop in the area of Vienna Avenue and Niles Cortland Road. But the vehicle continued onto Royal Mall Drive, where he was arrested by Youngstown police.

When Bianco was asked why he fled, he “provided no reason … other than him wanting to get the vehicle home,” the report states.

Have an interesting story? Contact Ed Runyan by email at erunyan@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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