CLEVELAND - Two damaged trees, a fire hydrant thrown across a front yard lawn and a mangled vehicle is what those living on the 2100 block of W. 98th Street awoke to early Sunday morning.
Over a stretch of three front yards on W. 98th was the scene of a grand theft auto and deadly crash that police say ended the life of 44-year-old Buddy Blair of Cleveland. Neighbors where in disbelief to discover Blair died after he jumped onto the side of his vehicle in an attempt to stop his vehicle from being stolen. He was hanging on to a roof rack on the S.U.V. when the vehicle crashed.
Cliff McPeak said he heard the crash from inside his bedroom. "I was sleeping upstairs and I hear a 'boom' and I hear a sound like a gunshot," said McPeak.
Cleveland First District Detectives were called out to 2056 W. 98th Street around 4 a.m. for a carjacking report.
Officers arrived on scene and were informed that a resident borrowed his friend’s car and was carjacked while he was out and about.
While officers interviewed the male who borrowed the car and the car’s owner, a Hispanic male drove by in the stolen vehicle.
Blair, the owner of the vehicle, ran and jumped onto the side of the car while the car was in motion. The vehicle sped off at a high rate of speed. Officers jumped into their squad cars and followed the stolen vehicle with their lights and sirens activated.
The driver soon lost control of the stolen vehicle, striking a pole and fire hydrant before flipping over at 2164 W.98th Street.
Blair became trapped between the pole and the car. He was pronounced dead on scene.
"I hope people learn a lesson here," is what Jerry Riffle said adding life is more important than property. Riffle and McPeak said this was not the first time an accident of this nature happened in W. 98th's front yards but the circumstances certainly struck a chord with neighbors, especially after McPeak said he saw the victim's sons come to the scene.
"He come there and he bowed down on the grass and start crying … I felt sorry for him. I told him I was sorry to hear it," said McPeak. A little later on, NewsChannel5 also found one of Blair's sons, 25-year-old Buddy Blair Jr., who quietly sobbed telling us off camera, he lost his best friend. Blair Jr. then took out a small plastic bag containing several pieces of broken glass and said, "This is all I have left of my dad, shards of glass from his windshield."
Police arrested and charged 24-year-old Jorge Martinez, 34-year-old Ivan Rosa, 29-year-old Jessica Gonzalez and 34-year-old Ivelisse Pedraza, all of Cleveland, with Aggrivated Vehicular Homicide and Robbery among other charges. Officers said a number of razor knives and bats were taken as evidence.
NewsChannel5 will have more information as the investigation continues.
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