08/29/2007

2 Ohio officers injured when suspect uses "vehicle as a weapon"

High-speed chase ends with gunfire; suspect killed by police

BY William A. Weathers
Cincinnati Enquirer

BLUE ASH, Ohio — A man was shot and killed by Blue Ash police officers early Tuesday morning when police say he attempted to run over officers after a traffic pursuit that ended at Cooper Road and Reed Hartman Highway.

The man was identified as Charles Wayne Bennett, 37, whose last known address was in the 11100 block of Centennial Avenue in Blue Ash. Records indicate he had an extensive criminal history.

Blue Ash Capt. James Schaffer said officers had no choice but to fire at the man.

"The vehicle was being used as a weapon," Schaffer said.

About 12:24 a.m., a Blue Ash officer tried to stop a black Chevrolet Monte Carlo being driven erratically on Cornell Road near Sycamore High School.

Schaffer said the driver made a U-turn and drove back at the officer's vehicle, nearly hitting it, and went west on Cornell Road with the officer chasing him. Police learned then the Monte Carlo was reported stolen in Clermont County.

The pursuit continued south on Reed Hartman Highway.

"I'm going to take this guy out if I get a chance," an officer said, according to police broadcasts.

Bennett approached the intersection of Reed Hartman Highway and Glendale-Milford Road at speeds estimated at 80-100 mph, Schaffer said.

Another officer told the dispatcher he had placed Stop Sticks in the road. The sticks are designed to flatten car tires.

"He's all over the road," the officer said. "Be careful."

The driver missed the Stop Sticks and kept going on Reed Hartman, nearly hitting a second cruiser. The Chevrolet then collided with a Blue Ash cruiser at Reed Hartman Highway and Cooper Road.

As two officers approached the car on foot, the driver accelerated forward toward one of the officers, Schaffer said. Both police officers fired their weapons at the car.

It continued south on Reed Hartman for about 200 feet.

There, it again struck a cruiser.

A third officer approached the car on foot and was struck as the car accelerated forward. "The officer ended up on the hood of the car," Schaffer said. That officer fired and the car came to a stop.

A few seconds later an officer advised the dispatcher: "Get two life squads here." Two Blue Ash officers were injured, Schaffer said. One was treated at Bethesda North Hospital and released; the other was treated at the scene.

Bennett was pronounced dead at Bethesda North Hospital at 1:47 a.m.

A passenger in Bennett's car, Daryl Black, 28, of Sycamore Township, suffered minor injuries from flying glass. Schaffer did not expect him to be charged with any crime.

Copyright 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer

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