Escaped inmate killed in fiery crash in Ohio

Escaped Garfield Heights inmate killed in fiery crash

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The man wanted for escaping the Garfield Heights jail early Friday morning was killed in a fiery crash during a high-speed police pursuit.

Authorities say 34-year-old Donnie J. Thomas was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center and pronounced dead after crashing into a wall on 176 North near I-480. The vehicle burst into flames.

Officers initiated the pursuit of Thomas after a stolen vehicle was reported by Maple Heights Police in the area of I-480 and Transportation Blvd. The pursuit was ultimately ended because Thomas was going at such a high rate of speed. 

It happened around noon, which was just a few hours after 34-year-old Donnie J. Thomas escaped.

Police issued a warning to the public after Thomas escaped saying that he should be considered "violent and dangerous." 

The escape took place at 7:49 a.m. Friday after the suspect allegedly attacked a jailer, grabbed keys and fled. The jailer was taken to the hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries.

He had been arrested just hours earlier for a Walgreens robbery, police say. There was another report from a neighbor, according to police, that Thomas was using a brick trying to enter a house.

Shortly after the escape, Thomas had been seen running eastbound on Oak Park Boulevard wearing a white T-shirt and black jeans with a light gray stocking cap.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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