CLEVELAND - An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation found that federal regulators are looking into a possible steering column defect involving the same type of vehicle driven by the Willoughby police officer who died in a crash Friday.
Patrolman Jason Gresko was killed after he swerved and hit a tree to avoid hitting a pickup truck.
Willoughby police confirm Gresko was driving a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria.
A 5 On Your Side investigation found the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary defect investigation into the Crown Victoria model years 2005-2008 for alleged defects in the vehicles steering column.
A review of NHTSA records show federal regulators have received three complaints describing how the steering column actually became separated.
Two of those involved police cruisers.
In addition, there are 10 complaints alleging the onset of steering column separation discovered during inspections. Seven of the complaints describe the separation as "catastrophic."
Two complaints actually describe the steering column separating after simply accelerating from a stop light.
Willoughby police warn that it is far too early in their crash investigation to determine if an alleged steering column defect could have contributed to the crash, but advise they are taking the information into consideration.
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