CLEVELAND — An Ohio officer who shot an unarmed driver after a high-speed chase earlier this year will not be charged.
A grand jury on Tuesday declined to indict Strongsville Officer Jason Miller in the shooting of 37-year-old Roy Evans Jr. after hearing evidence from a county prosecutor.
Police dispatch logs show the chase began early morning on March 7 and ended 14 minutes later after Evans’ van went across spike stripes laid across a highway. Dashcam video shows Miller shooting Evans within seconds after opening his door.
Evans’ girlfriend and her three children also were in the van but were not harmed. No one answered at phone numbers listed for Evans’ parents and girlfriend, and it was unclear whether there is an attorney representing the family.
Strongsville Police Chief Mark Fender said he respects the prosecutor’s decision to present Miller’s case to a grand jury and “expected the decision that they reached.” Strongsville Police are conducting an internal review of the case, he said.
Miller could not immediately be reached for comment.
Police radio records show the first call was logged shortly before 2:30 a.m. It indicated an officer tried and failed to stop a van in Strongsville, about 20 miles south of downtown Cleveland, and that pursuit speeds quickly reached 100 mph. The officer reported that the van was traveling with no headlights on and smoke coming from the engine.
Minutes later, an officer said the Ohio State Highway Patrol was setting up spike strips. The dispatch report said the van ran over the spike strips at more than 90 mph.
Dashcam video shows two police cruisers boxing in Evans’ van, with Evans striking a cruiser. It then shows Miller and another officer approaching the van with guns drawn. Miller opens the driver’s door, and two shots are heard seconds later. Minutes later, a child is heard crying on the video.
Authorities say the Strongsville officers said Evans wouldn’t follow orders and appeared to reach for something. Radio records show an officer said a balding man was reportedly seen “reaching down below, lighting a cigarette.”
Evans had a long criminal history. In 2004, he was sentenced to prison for breaking and entering, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and vehicular assault, among other charges, and in 2014 he spent two years in prison on two counts of felonious assault.
The criminal investigation into Miller is now closed, though Miller still could face discipline from Strongsville police. An investigative summary from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation wasn’t immediately made available to reporters.
The grand jury’s decision came on the same day as a separate grand jury’s decision to clear another northeast Ohio officer of all charges in a shooting death. Euclid Officer Matthew Rhodes was cleared of all charges after shooting and killing Luke Stewart, 23, after a struggle to gain control over a moving car in March.