CORRECTION: The initial event took place at 107 E. Main Street where Medina stole the car. He drove west on Main Street, veering off and through a yard at the corner of West Main Street and Vinewood Drive. The car went north on Vinewood then cut through some yards to Marion Drive where it proceeded to head south to Main Street.
Also, the owner of the car said she does not regret picking up Carlos Medina in North Fairfield. She said she was with some friends who know Medina, who was going to walk from Walcher’s Farms in North Fairfield to Willard to purchase a phone card. It was a hot day and picking him up to take him to the store was the right thing to do, she said.
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(ORIGINAL story) She let a stranger into her car, and now she’s probably regretting it after he stole it from her and led Norwalk police on quite a chase Tuesday night.
It all started when the vehicle owner stopped and picked up Carlos Medina, 23, when she had been near North Fairfield, Norwalk Police Capt. Eric Hipp said. She noticed he had been walking alongside the road.
After that, the woman drove to Norwalk, stopped her car around Marion Drive and when she left her car, Medina got into the driver’s seat and took over.
“We got a call from a citizen” who said the “car looked like it had backed over a street sign. ... And there was a lady lying on the ground,” Hipp said. “Shortly after that, the owner called and said the car had been stolen.”
“The woman tried getting her keys out of her car before Medina could drive off, but she was unsuccessful, Hipp said. She was dragged back and forth a few times by her car as Medina tried to throw her off.”
When Medina was free from her, he sped down West Main Street and turned right onto a yard on the corner of Vinewood Drive, Hipp said. “He struck a chainlink fence. ... And went through it again,” he added.
One of the witnesses, Barry Elder, a resident of 230 W. Main St., told what he saw of the chase after Medina had driven through his yard.
“Somebody would have probably gotten killed by this crazy guy,” said Elder, who had taken his 3-month-old daughter inside. All the while, people were seeing officers chasing after him. “He had to be doing 60 to 70 miles per hour,” he said.
“We were sitting in our chairs and we heard a squeal,” said David Dupont, who also lives at 230 W. Main St. “I looked up and a car was coming from Main Street onto Vinewood. He hit this, went airborn and hit the yard. and then I realized he was coming straight toward us. That’s when he came through the fence. He was coming toward us then turned and went out through the other side of the fence.”
“We saw police coming and my husband came out and waved the police down because they didn’t even see him make the turn because he was so far in front of them,” Lisa Dupont said.
Lisa Dupont said the car came within 10 feet of them in their backyard, where children had been playing just minutes earlier.
Medina got back onto West Main Street and blew past West Side Sunoco and H&B’s Hop.
After that Medina lost control of the vehicle near the Sycamore Hills Golf Course at the turn for Ohio 61 south. A pickup truck started to pull over after he saw the police cars heading his way, Hipp said. Medina struck the truck, overturning the stolen car.
“He tried to evade the crash, but he wasn’t able to,” the captain said. “He was taken to Fisher-Titus for minor injuries. I think he was released (Tuesday) night.”
The chase, even after Medina collided into the pick-up truck, was still not done. After Medina’s stolen vehicle had overturned onto its roof, he got out and ran onto the golf course.
More officers were called in to apprehend the man, and a K-9 unit also was brought in. An officer was able to follow Medina’s tracks and found him hiding in a brush on the edge of the Huron River, Hipp said.
“Several of our officers went through chest-deep water to get to him,” Hipp said.
Upon arresting him, officers found out Medina is from Mexico and he is here working with a passport. He was taken to FTMC for minor injuries, and then was taken to the Huron County Jail.
Medina was charged with stealing a vehicle and fleeing and eluding officers.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Elder said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Reflector Managing Editor Joe Centers contributed to this story.