Hollis Crump, one of two people who died in a head-on collision in East Cleveland following a police chase, was a longtime employee of the City of Cleveland who was preparing to take his grandchildren out Saturday night.
East Cleveland police said a fleeing suspect, identified as 23-year-old James Smith, Jr., of Cleveland, crashed into Crump's car on Noble Road just northwest of Euclid Avenue late Saturday afternoon. Crump was on his way to get a haircut, according to East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton.
"The saddest part to me is that two lives were lost," said Norton.
Crump died at the scene. He had plans to take his grandchildren to see Sesame Street Live later that night. Smith, the suspect, died the next day.
“When the police pull you over, just pull over," he added. "Deal with whatever that circumstance is and go home. Everyone just wants to go home.”
Police said an officer pulled over Smith about a mile from the crash site because he was driving erratically. When the officer approached him, Smith fled in his car. A chase began down Woodworth Avenue.
“About 20 seconds later, after a pursuit of about four city blocks, the police supervisor from the police station, radio’d back to the officer ordering him to stop the pursuit," said Norton.
Once the pursuit stopped, the officer lost sight of Smith and seconds later crossed left of center and crashed into Crump. Crump had been employed by the City of Cleveland for the past 29 years, most recently as assistant administrator for the Division of Water.
Norton said there is body camera video, which has not been released yet due to the on-going investigation. But it shows the officer followed all commands properly.
Police were unavailable to comment on the incident or the department's chase policy.
Smith had outstanding warrants in Shaker Heights for driving without a license and contempt of court. He owed the municipal court $344.