UPDATE: Bellaire Police Officers, Prisoners Transported to Hospital After Serious Accident on Route 7
Two Bellaire police officers and two prisoners are recovering after a serious accident late Tuesday night on Route 7 outside Bellaire.
Officers report that they were called to an altercation involving a man and woman earlier Tuesday evening and said both the man and woman were combative and required a trip to the hospital before transport to the Belmont County Jail. At the hospital, police said the woman became extremely combative and tried to grab a patrolman's shotgun, forcing an officer had to use his taser to subdue her. The male prisoner also reportedly became abusive to hospital staff and they refused him treatment.
Police then loaded the two prisoners into two separate cruisers to transport them to jail.
On the way, police said the male prisoner spit through the screen in the cruiser at Lieutenant J.J. Watson, the driver. Chief Mike Kovalyk said he made threats concerning Lieutenant Watson's family.
Watson abruptly pulled his cruiser off the highway. Patrolman Mike Wheeler, who was driving the second car, couldn't stop in time and both cruisers collided.
Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk said it appeared it appeared that both prisoners were under the influence of some controlled substance during the altercation that started on Franklin Street, and also during the combativeness of both of them at the hospital.
"We're a tough, tough department. We've been through a lot tougher. We'll go through a lot more toughness, more ordeals - but the Bellaire Police Department will get through it," said Kovalyk. In the accident, Officer Watson was ejected and his leg partially pinned. Both officers and prisoners were taken to Wheeling-area hospitals.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Watson was still hospitalized at OVMC for leg injuries after being pinned under the wrecked cruiser and officer Mike Wheeler was treated and released. The two suspects were also released after treatment at OVMC. Charges against the suspects include disorderly conduct, aggravated menacing, obstructing justice and resisting arrest.