WOOSTER, Ohio (WJW) – Authorities on Tuesday apprehended a local man who had eluded them for months, taking him into custody after a five-hour standoff at a mobile home park.
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Captain Doug Hunter said Steven Wolford Jr., 32, was wanted for failure to appear on a criminal assault charge in December.
Wolford, who Hunter said had been in trouble since the age of 12, was believed to have been a passenger in a stolen jeep that Doylestown and Rittman Police, as well as Wayne County MPs, tried to stop in September.
The dash cam video provided to FOX 8 shows the jeep jumping off a sidewalk at a local gas station / convenience store and leading them in a high-speed chase through rural neighborhoods.
The chase was eventually called off for the safety of others.
“This stolen vehicle was recovered later that day in the city of Canton and, to no real surprise, another vehicle was stolen near this location and was eventually recovered here in Wayne County,” said Hunter. .
On Tuesday, Wooster police stopped another vehicle after 2 a.m. in which Wolford is said to be a passenger again.
“The woman driving the vehicle pulled over and as the time of the arrest was about to unfold, he apparently told her to get away and lead the police on another chase,” said Hunter.
This pursuit was also ended due to the danger it posed to others, but authorities say they developed information that Wolford was in a mobile home park just outside the town of Wooster, in the interior of a mobile home belonging to his sister.
Wayne County MPs, along with agents from the MEDWAY Drug Task Force, surrounded the trailer, negotiating for five hours to try to convince Wolford to surrender.
“Sir. Wolford stayed inside and we got information from various sources that he was basically saying he was not going back to jail and was not going to be taken alive,” Hunter said.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol special operations team, along with an armored vehicle, were called in to assist in Wolford’s arrest on Tuesday.
The armored vehicle was pulled to the front door of the mobile home and Wolford was given an ultimatum that he had to surrender voluntarily or the house would be flooded with tear gas.
He then voluntarily surrendered.
On video of the camera worn on Hunter’s body, Woolford can be heard explaining that he surrendered because he didn’t want his sisters’ dogs to be hurt.
“I’m glad we didn’t have to hurt you,” Hunter is heard to say to Wolford, who replied, “I was debating this.”
FOX 8 News spoke to her sister, Charlene Stewart, who was home on Thursday.
“He’s a good guy, really. He just got it wrong right now, ”she said, suggesting that her brother’s actions could be influenced by heroin use.
Regarding her brother’s voluntary surrender, she told FOX 8 News she was happy “because otherwise it was going to be ugly and I didn’t want it to happen.”
Captain Hunter and Orrville Police confirm that inside the mobile home they recovered one of the many guns that were stolen from an Orrville business on August 27, for which he did not currently there are no named suspects.
Wolford is being held in Wayne County Jail for failure to appear on the felony assault charge in December.
Additional charges from multiple jurisdictions are expected.
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