TROY — Seven and a half minutes was the length of the Tuesday morning pursuit that claimed the lives of an innocent motorist — a young mother — and the fleeing felon who failed to stop as a Troy Police Department officer attempted to arrest him on two active warrants including one out of Greene County — for third-degree felony fleeing and eluding officers in that county.
Both Chelsea Vollmer, 32, of Dayton, and suspect Jalen Alexander, 19, were killed at the scene of the two-vehicle crash caused by Alexander who failed to stop for Troy Police officer. Alexander failed to stop for the officer around 8 a.m. Tuesday. The officer engaged in the pursuit from approximately a half-mile in distance from Alexander’s vehicle.
Vollmer was the driver of the minivan that was struck by Alexander’s vehicle, forcing the vehicle into a driveway. Alexander’s vehicle overturned, taking out a utility pole.
The pursuit started from Imperial Court off of State Route 55 before the deadly collision at State Route 202 and U.S. Route 40 in Phoneton in Bethel Twp.
Chief Shawn McKinney said, “First, I want to express my condolences to the family of the deceased. This was a tragic incident. We are heartbroken for the family and fiance and friends. We know it doesn’t compare to the loss they have suffered. We grieve for the victim whose life was tragically ended by the intentional, criminal and reckless decisions of the fleeing felon.”
The Troy Police Department is not releasing the name of the officer involved in the incident until the department’s internal investigation is complete. The officer will not be placed on administrative leave and will return to patrol this week, according to McKinney.
“Seven and a half minutes was what this took. It’s not a long time, but it felt like forever for the officer and the people involved,” McKinney said following the officer’s dashcam video of the pursuit during Thursday’s press conference.
McKinney said at this time, it is believed the officer was in compliance with the department’s pursuit policy. Pursuits are based on if the alleged felon has committed or is committing an offense that presents a risk of serious physical harm or death and second that there’s an immediate need for apprehension. The Troy Police Department’s pursuit policy’s last major revision was in 2014, McKinney said. Officers are tested on the policy each year. McKinney said this pursuit may or may not in a policy change that is being reviewed.
Alexander had an outstanding Miami County warrant for felonious assault, child abuse/endangering and a Greene County warrant for violation of a court order related to the fleeing and eluding of officers in that county. The officer was also aware that the suspect was in possession of a 9mm Glock pistol when stopped by Troy Police officers on March 7. Alexander allegedly shot at a Piqua resident, known to him, in the area of Sweetbriar Avenue in the Candlewood neighborhood.
Vollmer’s 2-year-old daughter Ezra was expected to be released from Dayton’s Children Thursday, McKinney said. McKinney’s voice broke and he paused for several seconds after he thanked the neighbors at the scene who came to the toddler’s aid.
Detective Capt. Jeff Kunkleman interviewed Alexander’s girlfriend, a passenger in the vehicle and owner of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tayesha Tipton, 19, of Troy. Tipton told detectives Alexander never hit the brakes, which she believed he could have and did nothing to avoid colliding into Vollmer’s van. Tipton will be charged with wrongful entrustment, a first-degree misdemeanor, Kunkleman said. Tipton suffered self-reported injuries of broken ribs, a punctured lung and a severe ankle fracture. Kunkleman said Tipton has been cooperative with authorities. Tipton told authorities Alexander had the mentality of “If I’m going … everybody’s going,” at the time of the incident.
Patrol Capt. Zac Mumford estimated the distance the officer kept between himself and Alexander’s vehicle was approximately a half-mile away from the cruiser. The speed of Alexander’s vehicle has been estimated at 100 miles per hour or more.
McKinney also reviewed how stop sticks, which were deployed by Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies at Ross Road and State Route 202, are not designed to blow out tires, but to slow down the vehicle. McKinney said Alexander’s Jeep had two puncture wounds to the front passenger side tire prior to the accident, but there wasn’t enough time to deflate the tire from when the accident occurred.
McKinney thanked the supporting agencies, including the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Huber Heights Police Department and hospital staff.
The Piqua post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, which will likely take at least six weeks to complete.