ELYRIA — A man who police say was left in the parking lot of the Train Station bar Friday while having a suspected drug overdose has died.
Chad Vance, 34, died Wednesday, according to Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino, who spoke with Vance’s family. Vance had been at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center in critical condition.
Longtime friend Tom Moran, who grew up with Vance on Elyria’s west side, said regardless of the turn Vance may have taken in life, he will always remember Vance as a good-natured person who took him under his wing as a youth.
The two met when they were 9 years old and shared a love of sports. They both attended Westwood and Crestwood Elementary and Westwood Middle School and graduated together from Elyria High School.
Moran said he last saw Vance in June. Moran had returned from Florida where he now lives to watch Game Seven of the NBA Finals.
“All of us childhood friends went downtown for it,” a choked-up Moran said. “That’s what held us all together was Cleveland sports. Just being underdogs ourselves growing up, Cleveland sports was something we could relate to.”
Moran said he remembers the first time he met Vance in grade school on the basketball court during a very heated game on the playground.
At first the two didn’t get along, Moran said, but not too long after that first meeting Vance called Moran to see if Moran wanted to go to church with him and his grandparents.
That’s the Vance whom Moran said he will always remember. Moran said he had never been to church, and he was so excited that someone liked him.
“Chad was always very spiritual,” Moran said. “Regardless of where life may have taken him recently, he always did the right thing for the people that he loved. He didn’t have an enemy, and he was the type of guy you wanted to be around. His personality was infectious.”
Moran said Vance was always in good spirits and he was everything that a good friend should be. Moran’s home life wasn’t very good, but Vance was always there.
“He literally saved my life as a kid with his friendship,” Moran said. “Home life was not great for me, so his house was always a safe place to be. Chad was a brother to everybody.”
Police arrested David West, 35, of Second Street, Elyria, after the incident at the Train Station and charged him with aggravated robbery.
Police said they believe West and Vance robbed a 22-year-old man after the trio left the Train Station about 1 a.m. Police said the 22-year-old man, who has not been identified, was at the bar flashing money and buying drinks, and the three men left together when the conversation turned toward drugs.
The 22-year-old told detectives he got out of the car at Georgetown Avenue after feeling uneasy about the trip. He told police he ran and tripped on a curb, was assaulted and robbed.
Costantino said West later returned to the bar with Vance about 2 a.m. and pulled him out of the car and rummaged through his wallet before leaving Vance there. Surveillance footage captured the incident.
Costantino said West, who has a lengthy criminal record, could face additional charges after the case is reviewed by the county prosecutor. Police are waiting on toxicology results from the coroner, Costantino said, who will determine Vance’s exact cause of death.
“We are going to be on this right away and having conversations with the coroner and prosecutor,” he said.