Fatality During Ohio Police Chase is Probed


An investigation is continuing into the Wednesday night police chase in Springfield Township in which a pedestrian was struck and killed by a car that a Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy was pursuing.

The sheriff's department released the identity of the victim Thursday: Rebecca V. Maynard, 52, of West Price Hill.

Maynard was walking along Hamilton Avenue when she was struck by a car that police believe was driven by Vernon Fears, Jr., 18, of Westwood.

Fears and two other teens, 16 and 15, were fleeing from a deputy who had responded to a report of a drive-off from a gas station at 6:16 p.m. in Colerain Township, the sheriff's department said.

The deputy tried to stop the 1991 Dodge Spirit on Hamilton Avenue, but the car drove off, turning onto several streets before returning to Hamilton Avenue, the sheriff's department said.

At the intersection with Springdale Avenue, the car ran a red light and collided with a 1999 Acura before striking Maynard, the sheriff's department said. She was pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m. Wednesday at Franciscan-Mount Airy Hospital.

Maynard, 52, often went for walks at night, said Craig Poland, who lived across the hall from her in a four-unit apartment building on Hilsun Street.

"She'd go up and down the street," he said.

Maynard had lived in the building and kept mostly kept to herself, Poland said. She had a son, who often came to visit at her apartment.

Poland said he had no idea why Maynard was walking along Hamilton Avenue, about 12 miles from her home.

After the Spirit struck Maynard, the three teens jumped out and fled on foot. One was apprehended nearby, the other two hopped onto a Metro bus, according to police.

The sheriff's department contacted Metro, which then broadcast an alert to its drivers with a description of the two youths.

A driver downtown spotted them and called police after they got off, and police arrested them near Fountain Square.

One teen, of Westwood, was charged with obstructing official business. The other, from Roselawn, was charged with theft.

Fears was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to comply with the order of police officer and theft. He is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

The driver of the Acura that collided with the Spirit, Phyllis Overton, 55, of Forest Park, was not seriously injured. A passenger, Albert Highlander, 56, of Forest Park, was treated at Mercy Fairfield Hospital for minor injuries and released.

The incident was the second this week in which a person died as the result of a chase.

On Sunday, Mable Trapp, 68, of Hamilton, was killed when a car in which she was a passenger was struck by a vehicle fleeing police in Evendale.

Randy D. Smith, 52, of Hartwell, was charged with vehicular homicide in the case. He was allegedly driving drunk on Reading Road when his car hit the rear of the car in which Trapp was riding, driving it into a utility pole.

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