Bodycam video released from a Cleveland Heights police chase, deadly I-90 crash

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Newly-released body camera video gives more insight into a deadly police chase that ended in the death of a local doctor.

The FOX 8 I-Team was first to obtain the video of the pursuit that ended up on the wrong side of Interstate 90. The video showed the moments before, during and after the crash.

Bodycam video showed the moment Cleveland Heights police apprehended the suspect who slammed head-on into another driver, killing him, while going the wrong way on I-90 during a police pursuit Wednesday evening.

“Go check on the drivers, he caused a head-on collision, go check on them,” said an officer at the scene.

The incident began around 7:20 p.m. when a man police identified as 23-year-old Jalen Jackson of Cleveland robbed an Amazon driver using a rented van.

A short time later, officers found the stolen van, which took off. Police chased it.

The pursuit winded through residential streets in East Cleveland, the west side of Cleveland and I-90.

Then, the chase took a deadly turn.

“Eastbound, he’s going the wrong way on the highway, wrong way on the highway. I’m going to step back a little bit and stay on the shoulder,” one of the pursuing officers said.

“He just crashed, he just crashed!” the officer yelled moments later.

Continuing in the wrong direction on I-90, the stolen van slammed head-on into a vehicle, killing 70-year-old Dr. Curtis Birchall, who was heading home to Akron.

“Show me your (expletive) hands, show me your (expletive) hands, show me your (expletive) hands now!” yelled an officer chasing the suspect on foot.

The video showed the suspect make a run for it, but he did not get far.

Tragically, it appears the driver of the other car never had a chance.

“He’s dead,” an officer somberly informed one of the pursing officers.

“Come here, man, you did a good (expletive) job… you did a good (expletive) job, man,” one officer said, seemingly to comfort the other.

The video also showed Cleveland police handing Cleveland Heights officers a gun they say belonged to the suspect.

Thursday, the Cleveland Heights police chief said Jackson fired shots right before the chase.

“He shot at you guys?” asked a Cleveland police officer.

“When we first picked it up, the lead car says he thinks there were shots fired. I was the second car, I didn’t hear it, but he says he believes there were shots fired,” said one of the pursuing officers.

The Cleveland Heights mayor and police chief say they are investigating the pursuit to see whether it followed proper guidelines.

Jackson appeared Friday in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court on charges that include aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.

He is being held on a $1 million bond. Jackson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 13.

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