On April 30, 2020, at about 2:04 pm, Newark Police were on the scene of a tree that had fallen across Capitol Trail (SR 2) causing the closure of all eastbound lanes and one westbound lane. At that time, a Newark Police vehicle was parked in one of the two westbound lanes in order to close the lane and prevent vehicles from striking the tree. The police vehicle was fully marked and had its emergency lights activated. The police officer was out of the vehicle directing traffic.
A maroon Lincoln Town Car approached the scene, failed to change lanes, and struck the police vehicle, according to police. The police officer ordered the driver to stop, but he fled from the scene officials said Friday. When the driver of the vehicle saw other police officers at the other end of the road closure, he abandoned the vehicle in the roadway and fled on foot. He was taken into custody without incident after a short foot chase.
The driver was identified as Michael Gantt, 30, of Newark. He was transported to Newark Police headquarters where he was charged with the following offenses:
- Disregarding a Police Officer’s Signal (a felony)
- Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Crash
- Driving While Suspended or Revoked
- Failure to Obey an Emergency Order (violation of Governor’s state of emergency order – no authorized reason to be out of residence)
- Additional traffic charges
Gantt appeared before Justice of the Peace Court #11 by video and was released on $1,900 unsecured bail.
The officer was not injured.