YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office has released the names of two people who died in a fiery Youngstown crash last week.
The victims were identified as 32-year-old Jasper Wells, Jr. and 25-year-old Audreyona Ward after an autopsy by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
They were found in a car that had crashed into a pole around 9 p.m. November 27 at Salt Springs Road and Meridian Road, near Phantom Fireworks.
According to investigators, the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Campbell and Youngstown police officers had been following it. Officers were then called off the chase and later found the vehicle on fire on the side of the roadway.
Radio traffic indicated that the chase lasted only a minute and was called off after the vehicle reached speeds of more than 70 miles per hour.
The victims were found in the car after the fire was extinguished.
Although the crash and the pursuit are still under investigation, police say it appears that the officer who was involved did follow the department’s policies on high-speed pursuits.
“In this case, the officer recognized before the supervisor did that it was dangerous,” said Youngstown police Lt. Brian Butler.