The man who evaded police and ultimately led to tragedy will have a dozen years behind bars to reflect.
31-year old Joseph Bennett of Akron set the events in motion this past spring when police were trying to pull him over after a traffic incident. At the time of the chase, Bennett threw an item from his window and a passenger even bailed out of the vehicle. Police suspected the item thrown from the car was illegal drugs.
After the chase of Bennett was broken off over safety concerns, officers undertook a foot search of Arlington Road searching for evidence. At that time, a drunk driver hit and severely injured Springfield Police Officer Mark Dodez.
Dodez was diagnosed as paralyzed, but recent improvements in his health have prompted hope not only a full recovery but the ability to return to duty on the Springfield police department force.
Summit County Prosecutor - news release
Joseph Bennett, 31, of Inman Street in Akron was sentenced today by Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands to 12 years in prison.
“This case is a sobering reminder of the dangers our law enforcement members face every day,” said Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh. “I am grateful for the hard work of our local police officers, and I am proud of the support they offered Officer Dodez this afternoon in court.”
On March 31, 2011, a Springfield police officer attempted to pull over Bennett for almost causing a large traffic accident. Bennett refused to stop, at one point throwing an item out of his window on Arlington Road. Bennett’s passenger exited the vehicle during the chase. Police terminated the chase after Bennett nearly caused several accidents and the excessive speeds became too dangerous.
Springfield officers and Summit County Sheriffs searched the area of Arlington Road after Bennett’s passenger confirmed that Bennett had thrown methamphetamines out of his window during the chase. During the search, Springfield Officer Mark Dodez was hit and severely injured by a drunk driver.
Acting on a tip, Akron police officers found Bennett hiding in the basement of his girlfriend’s apartment five days later. As they were arresting him, Bennett attempted to stuff more methamphetamines in his underwear. While being booked at Summit County Jail, deputies discovered more methamphetamines on his person.
Bennett pled guilty to Failure to Comply, a third-degree felony; Tampering with Evidence, a third-degree felony; Conveyance of drugs, a third-degree felony; and Aggravated Possession of Drugs, a fifth-degree felony, on August 17.