ONLINE EXCLUSIVE - Fleeing driver threw money, dope out of window

Cary Ashby • Mar 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

An area man wanted in Cleveland-area robberies is accused of throwing cash and drugs out of a car window during a high-speed chase.

John P. Lane II, 23, of Mentor, must post a $100,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail. He is prohibited from "operating any motor vehicle" if he posts bail, according to court records.

Lane is charged with one count each of failure to comply with the order of a police officer (aka fleeing and eluding) and tampering with evidence. The felonies are in connection with a high-speed pursuit that started in the Wakeman area and ended near the Elks Club in Norwalk on Thursday.

"He threw evidence of a crime out of the window," Norwalk Assistant Law Director Scott Christophel said, referring to an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana. "Some of it was recovered along the way."

About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the Wakeman Police Department received a "be on the look-out" advisory about a blue 2001 Honda Accord. An officer, who happened to be running random license plate inspections, noticed one of the license plates fit the description of the car Lane was driving.

"I don't think it (the car) was reported stolen, (but) it wasn't registered to him," Christophel said.

A couple of minutes passed between the advisory and license plate check. Police were notified that Lane was wanted by Cleveland-area authorities in connection with robbing a BP station in Lake County and a Shell station in Mentor. Christophel said Lane is being investigated by police in Mentor, North Olmsted and Willoughby stemming from additional robberies.

"We didn't put two and two together until we ran the plate," Wakeman Police Chief Tim Hunker said soon after the pursuit.

Following the license plate check, the Wakeman officer began pursuing the suspect's vehicle west on U.S. 20 toward Norwalk. The officer called the Huron County Sheriff's Office for back-up.

Deputies responded and clocked the suspect driving at more than 110 mph.

The blue Honda nearly hit a couple of vehicles before turning west onto South Norwalk Road and then into the Elks Club parking lot, where it hit landscaping timbers.

Sheriff Dane Howard, Capt. Ted Patrick and Lt. Chris Stanfield chased Lane on foot after the crash. Stanfield tackled Lane and a fight ensued between the two, with Stanfield receiving a head injury in the process, Patrick said.

As the struggle continued, Patrick used a Taser to subdue Lane. He was handcuffed and taken to jail, where detectives from the Mentor Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff's Office interviewed the suspect.

Stanfield was treated at Fisher-Titus Medical Center and released Thursday.

"I think he'll be just fine," Howard said Friday.

Stanfield, who oversees the daily operations of the jail and normally doesn't work road patrol, reported for work Friday. Howard said the doctor had told Stanfield to be on light duty for the first 24 hours.

He is credited with assisting with the chase due to the shortage of manpower in the sheriff's office.

Howard praised Stanfield for his dedication.

"He's a very dedicated deputy. He showed up (at the jail) even though I recommended he stayed home," the sheriff said.

The Stanfield incident is the 26th injury a sheriff's employee has experienced in the line of duty during the last three years.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Reporter Aaron Krause contributed to this story.

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