Police Chase Ends On Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Wheeling police officer injured in accident

Photo by Alec Berry Wheeling police and fire personnel respond to a vehicle accident on the Wheeling Suspension Bridge Friday afternoon that resulted from a police chase that began in Martins Ferry.

WHEELING — A police chase that began in Martins Ferry ended in an abrupt head-on collision on the Wheeling Suspension Bridge that sent the suspect and a police officer to a local hospital Friday afternoon.

The suspect, Donald Daniels of Martins Ferry, and an officer with the Wheeling Police Department who has not been identified were transported to Wheeling Hospital for treatment. The officer sustained minor injuries, according to Wheeling Police Department spokesman Philip Stahl, while Daniels was later taken to a Pittsburgh facility in serious condition from a head injury.

The bridge was reopened at about 6:15 p.m. Friday with no sign of significant damage after West Virginia Division of Highways crews checked out the span.

According to Stahl, the Martins Ferry Police Department attempted a routine traffic stop on Daniels, who fled law enforcement. He allegedly raced through Bridgeport and onto Wheeling Island. While crossing the suspension bridge, Daniels swerved around a vehicle driving just ahead of him and collided with a Wheeling Police Department cruiser, Stahl said.

Daniels’ vehicle came to rest on the bridge’s north walkway. Soon after the accident, which occurred at about 4 p.m., personnel with the city police department, the Wheeling Fire Department and the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department gathered around the structure to investigate.

Stahl said Martins Ferry police had notified Wheeling police of the ongoing chase, and the officer that was injured was responding to that report. He said Daniels will likely face criminal charges, although he was unsure of the extent of the charges or which police agency would issue them.

Stahl said since the matter involved multiple agencies, there remains much to be sorted out. Because the crash involved a Wheeling police cruiser, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department is in charge of the investigation.

It’s unknown why Martins Ferry police officers were attempting to stop Daniels in the first place. Officials with that department could not be reached late Friday for comment.

The bridge was closed for about two hours — a significantly shorter disruption than was caused by several recent incidents involving the bridge.

The span was closed for several days in April when a vehicle damaged the bridge’s stiffening truss in a hit-and-run accident. It was closed for nearly a week for evaluation in March after a Greyhound bus forced its way across the bridge, which has a two-ton weight limit.

In October 2015, a pickup truck slammed into one of the bridge’s walkways and wooden beams after blowing a tire.

The bridge was closed for less than two days after that accident.

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