Truck driver aimed his truck at two Richfield officers

by Sue Serdinak

Officer Jake Totten is casting the spike strips across I-271, just before a speeding truck was driven toward him. Photos from dash cam of cruiser coming from behind.

Two Richfield officers narrowly escaped injury or death on May 11 when a semi truck was driven at them on I-271northbound, near the Route 303 exit.

Officer Jake Totten was on the side of the highway, having just placed spike stripes across the lanes to stop a speeding truck being driven by a man who had pulled a gun on highway workers in Medina County.

Officer Travis Hoffman had pulled up behind Totten to assist him when the speeding truck came directly toward the officers. The truck hit the passenger side of Hoffman’s cruiser and the dash cam captured the image as the truck sped on.

However, the spike strip was successful in puncturing the truck’s tires and after hitting a guardrail, it stopped several hundred yards ahead.

Ohio State Patrol cars were right behind the truck, and the spike strips also punctured some of their tires. As the driver was known to be armed, safety forces did not immediately approach the wrecked truck and the driver escaped into the woods. 

A safety alert was sent out to area residents to lock their doors as several departments searched for the man. I-271 was closed for over four hours between I-77 in Richfield and Route 8 in Macedonia causing traffic snarls during rush hour. 

With the aid of drones, the man was found at the bottom of a steep ravine between I-271 and Boston Mills Road. He was unconscious, and was still armed with a handgun.

After the incident Richfield Police Chief Michael Swanson said this was obviously a pre-meditated act and he is grateful that the “28,000-pound missile” that the man drove didn’t hit the officers. It is unknown if the 2021 cruiser can be repaired.

Fire Chief George Seifert said that the rescue squad had three calls during this period, related to pile ups associated with highway closure. ∞

Featured Photo: Officer Travis Hoffman had just exited his cruiser to help with spike strips when a speeding truck came toward him and hit the side of the car. Hoffman and Officer Totten ran toward the median and escaped injury but the cruiser sustained significant damage.