CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Cleveland Heights homeowner posted signs on his front lawn, demanding the city restore the guardrail in front of his Fairmount Boulevard home after a high-speed police chase ended with the suspect crashing into a house.
The homeowner, who no longer wanted to be identified, told News 5 the Nov. 12 incident left his home with some $40,000 in damage.
He said the guardrail was taken down in 2005 during a road resurfacing project and said numerous requests given to the city over the past several years produced no results.
“It was like a bomb went off, the air was filled with insulation and there was flying glass everywhere," the homeowner said. “I’m very curious to find out who’s idea that was, who was consulted, who signed off on that.”
“This wasn't the only time my home and my neighbor's property was hit. It was a police chase, they chased him right up the driveway, smashed my truck through my garage door. The car careened off and crushed the neighbor's fence. I have some big questions, does this affect my property value, will affect my ability to sell this place at some point?”
“Who’s ever decision that was should be responsible, whether it’s Cuyahoga County or the Ohio Department of Transportation.”
News 5 contacted Cuyahoga County and ODOT about this case, and both said according to Ohio law the guardrail is the responsibility of Cleveland Heights.
News 5 took this case to Cleveland Heights City Manager, Susanna Niermann-O’Neil, she responded immediately and told News 5 the city plans to restore the guardrail in the coming months and will include the homeowner in that process.
“If feel terrible about it, any one of us could identify with how shocking that would be," Niermann-O'Neil said. It's in a tough spot, the crosswalk is right there, his driveway, it’s a very small tree lawn. It’s an odd, difficult situation."
“What I have asked is for public works and the police to kind of brainstorm on what makes sense. When it comes to high-speed chases, they’re trying to do their job, their due diligence, and balance that with the realities of high-speed chases.”
Niermann-O'Neil said the city would be willing to again assist in re-evaluating the city police chase policy, but she would first like the police department to complete its review of the Nov. 12 chase that played a role in the suspect hitting the Fairmount Boulevard home.
It's still not clear if the city will assist in helping the homeowner recoup repair expenses that aren't covered by insurance.