VERMILION - Police believe the driver involved in a crash Sunday was driving under the influence when he made an illegal left turn into the path of an on-duty police officer.
Officer Scott Holmes, 36, fractured his sternum when his cruiser collided with a station wagon shortly before 8 p.m. He is out of the hospital recovering from the injury, which will likely mean several weeks off work.
The station wagon, driven by 28-year-old Eric Scoles of Vermilion, was traveling on Elberta Road when it made an illegal left turn onto Liberty Avenue into the path of Holmes` cruiser, which was heading west, according to a search warrant filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.
Holmes was not being dispatched at the time of the crash and was not driving with lights and sirens, Vermilion police Lt. Rich Labis said.
"The van had the stop sign on Elberta, and it doesn`t appear that he ran the stop sign, but we haven`t determined what caused the crash yet," Labis said. "We still haven`t interviewed the officer."
In the warrant, police claim they have probable cause to believe Scoles was under the influence of drugs. The Amherst Police Department took a drug-sniffing dog to the scene, which alerted to the possible presence of drugs on the driver`s side of the vehicle, the warrant said.
Holmes was wearing his seat belt, which likely caused the injury when his airbag deployed, Labis said. He was flown by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and was released early Monday.
Scoles and passenger Kathleen Long, 23, of Vermilion, were treated and released from Community Health Partners in Lorain. Passenger Herbert Edward, 28, also of Vermilion, was taken to Community and later flown to MetroHealth. He was listed in critical condition Monday.
Police say a syringe and other drug paraphernalia were found in the car.
Labis said Holmes has been with the department for almost six years, working as a patrolman. During that time, he was involved in another crash, in which he was cited for being at fault. Labis said two years ago Holmes collided with a vehicle he was trying to pass in an attempt to catch up to a traffic violator.