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Officer injured in scuffle with robbery suspect following pursuit

Aaron Krause • Mar 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM

(UPDATED with video from bond hearing.) A Huron County sheriff's lieutenant suffered a concussion during a scuffle with a robbery suspect caught after a high-speed chase.

John Lane, 23, of Mentor, is in custody at the Huron County Jail on charges of felony fleeing and eluding, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest. Additional charges could be filed.

About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the Wakeman Police Department received a "Be on the Look Out" advisory. An officer happened to be running random license plate inspections at the time. He noticed that one of those plates fit the description of the vehicle mentioned in the advisory.

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

A couple of minutes passed between the advisory and license plate check that indicated Lane was wanted by Cleveland-area authorities. He is accused of robbing a BP station in Lake County and a Shell station in Mentor.

Following the license plate check, a Wakeman officer began pursuing the suspect's vehicle west on U.S. 20 toward Norwalk. The Wakeman officer called the sheriff's office for back up.

Sheriff's deputies responded and noticed the suspect driving at more than 110 mph. During the pursuit, the suspect threw money and other contraband out the window, Huron County Sheriff's Capt. Ted Patrick said.

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.

The suspect jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. Patrick and Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard gave chase, as did sheriff's Lt. Chris Stanfield.

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. At that point, a deputy was able to handcuff Lane and take him to jail.

Detectives from the Mentor Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff's Office planned to travel here to interview Lane, Patrick said.

Stanfield, who oversees the daily operations of the Huron County Jail, was treated and released Thursday, Fisher-Titus Medical Center spokeswoman Johnna Young said.

Stanfield normally does not work patrol, but he came out to help as a result of the shortage of manpower, Patrick said.

The incident resulted in the 26th injury a Huron County sheriff's employee has experienced in the line of duty during the last three years, Patrick said.

There is a direct correlation between the incidents and the shortage of staff, he added. The department is down to 10 deputies on road patrol, and that number soon will dwindle to nine -- the lowest Patrick has seen during his 26 years with the sheriff's office.

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