NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles Police continue searching for the driver accused of slamming into police cruisers during a chase.

Police from multiple departments were called to a pursuit in which shots were fired by officers in Niles Thursday morning.

According to Niles police Chief Jay Holland, the incident began after an investigation of a stolen truck. The Ford F550 commercial truck was reported missing from Trumbull Metal Inc. at 643 Henry St. on Tuesday.

Police say the suspect who took the truck left another vehicle at the location where the truck was stolen out of Weathersfield Township. Police believe the theft was part of an ongoing ring of vehicle thefts and equipment in the area.

“We do have several good sources of possible DNA that we recovered from inside the truck,” said Capt. John Marshall. “A lot of the cargo apparently didn’t get stolen with the truck. We found that out this morning. A lot of cargo was very likely stolen from somewhere else.”

At 4:15 a.m. Thursday, the police department’s license plate camera reader alerted officers that the stolen truck had been spotted in the city. An officer tried to pull the vehicle over near Fuel Plus but said the driver refused to comply and drove away, leading officers on a chase.

Marshall said during the chase, the driver rammed two cruisers, hitting one twice, and continued to flee before taking the chase off road into an abandoned railroad bed off Summit Avenue.

  • Damages caused during a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Niles, Ohio.
  • Damages caused during a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Niles, Ohio.
  • Damages caused during a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Niles, Ohio.
  • Damages caused during a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Niles, Ohio.

“It appears the driver of the truck then again tried to reverse into the vehicles that were behind him. One of the officers there did discharge his gun at the vehicle because of the danger that the officers in that first vehicle were in,” Marshall said.

The driver took off and police followed. Marshall says once again, the driver rammed into a cruiser, disabling it while the two officers inside the cruiser fired their weapons.

Marshall said it appears the three officers fired a total of 19 rounds but at this point, investigators don’t believe the driver was hit. He says none of the officers were seriously hurt.

“It’s a heavy, heavy truck and to intentionally ram that into another car would be just like you know it would be – just like shooting somebody,” Marshall said.

The vehicle drove away, going down a railroad bed. Officers later found the stolen truck abandoned about a mile and a half away from the shooting scene. Officers searched the area but were unable to find the driver.

A police cruiser was removed from the scene Thursday morning with front- and rear-end damage, as well as bullet holes in the windshield.

Per department policy, the three officers who fired their weapons were placed on administrative leave. Detectives are now looking for information to help identify the driver of the truck.

“Around 5 o’clock this morning, 4:30 a.m. this morning if you got a weird hit on your Ring doorbell and got an image for us, let us know. We’d by happy to come and see it,” Marshall said.

Niles, Weathersfield, McDonald and Austintown police departments, as well as the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, assisted with the incident.