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'That one decision changed everyone' — Videos show suspect flee traffic stop, cause deadly crash

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 18:32:15-04

CLEVELAND — The Ohio State Highway Patrol has released body camera and aerial video of the moments before, during and after a 23-year-old motor vehicle theft suspect fled from a traffic stop and later caused a violent crash that killed a 28-year-old woman. According to the body camera video, state troopers on the ground did not pursue the suspect and, instead, relied on the OSHP helicopter overhead.

The videos released by OSHP highlight the measurable steps taken by the agency to limit the potential of collateral damage that may have followed the felony traffic stop of Raymond Francis, 23, last Friday in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. Sgt. Ray Santiago, a spokesperson for OSHP, said the agency released the videos after public records requests were filed. Additionally, the videos provide the public a moment-by-moment view of the events leading up to the tragic death of Annelisa Endress, 28.

“There were a lot of questions. Even with us giving an immediate statement on scene, there was still some skepticism [in the community],” Sgt. Santiago said. “We wanted to make sure that folks understand what we’re trying to do and what we are truly here for.”

Around 6:45pm on Aug. 26th, troopers in the area of Clark Avenue and West 46th spotted a black BMW that was later determined to have been reported stolen when it was not returned to a Strongsville dealership after a test drive. Upon pulling the vehicle over, troopers ordered the driver and passenger out of the car. After the passenger got out, troopers said the driver, later identified as Francis, sped off.

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“Yeah, this car is gonna flee. I’ve got him,” an OSHP official said in the aerial video released Friday. “He’s going to make a right hand turn to go southbound on 44th.”

In the accompanying body camera video, the troopers conducting the felony traffic stop race back into their patrol vehicles. However, they never initiated lights and sirens. Instead, they allowed the helicopter overhead to call out where the driver of the stolen BMW was going. The troopers on the ground stayed in the vicinity around where the stolen vehicle was heading.

In the aerial video, the driver of the stolen BMW, which authorities have identified as Francis, narrowly avoided hitting two people on bicycles. Moments later, the stolen vehicle comes within inches of hitting a school bus trying to make a left turn.

“That decision not to pursue was because we had the resources available to us at the time to continue to observe that vehicle without a pursuit being necessary,” Sgt. Santiago said. “Unfortunately, we have a person that decided to think about no one but themselves. He took a life and now there are dozens of people that are affected by that.”

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Just 60 seconds after Francis allegedly sped off from the traffic stop, he ran through one final stop sign at a high rate of speed at the corner of West 41st and Trowbridge Ave. The t-bone collision that followed was so violent that it sent Endress’ vehicle careening into the front porch of a neighboring home.

“Looking at the totality of this circumstances, there is the victim’s family who is never going to be the same. There is the community where it happened that are now going to have to live that memorial at that corner and every one of those troopers and first responders on scene that tried to save her life. All of this is because of one person,” Sgt. Santiago said. “One person decided that they were going to disregard all that and try to get away from a situation that ultimately they were going to have to answer for anyway. That one decision changed everyone in an instant.”

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According to the body camera video, several troopers arrived on-scene shortly after the violent crash. Simultaneously, troopers took Francis into custody and tried to administer emergency aid to Endress, who had a faint pulse but remained unconscious.

“She still has a pulse. She still has a pulse. Hey, she still has a pulse!” one trooper can be heard screaming. “Cleveland [dispatch], tell EMS to step it up. She still has a pulse but she’s unconscious.”

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The trooper wearing the body camera was joined by another law enforcement officer as the two ripped away a chain link fence that was preventing them from gaining access to Endress’ vehicle. Once they could see inside the vehicle, they confirmed that Endress still had a pulse but that her legs had become trapped underneath the crumpled dash and center console.

“Her legs are trapped dude,” the trooper said.

Endress was rushed to the hospital where she later died. A makeshift memorial, containing dozens of candles, teddy bears, flowers and a photo of Endress, now occupies the street corner.

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“It was the actions of one person — even when every attempt was made to keep those situations as safe as we can. That person just had zero regard for anyone that was in that neighborhood or for anyone else that was around,” Santiago said. “He took a life. There’s a family now that is going to need a lot of support right now.”

Francis, who has prior convictions for motor vehicle theft and other theft-related charges, remains in custody on several additional felonies, including aggravated vehicular homicide.

RELATED: OSHP: Pursuit not initiated before stolen vehicle suspect caused fatal crash