David Joel Davis Jr, age 50, of Shepherd, appeared before 253rd District Court Judge Chap Cain III on Monday, August 12, 2019, whereupon he entered a plea of not guilty and the case proceeded to trial before the jury for Evading Arrest or Detention With a Motor Vehicle and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.
Davis Jr. first drew the attention of then-Cleveland Police Department Officer Laci Lognion on Oct. 29, 2018, when he was observed driving a suspicious vehicle that had been spray-painted and had a license plate attached only by wire.
Lognion reportedly saw Davis Jr. run a stop sign and attempted to make a stop. Davis Jr. accelerated and proceeded to lead police on a nighttime high-speed pursuit across multiple counties that eventually involved Officer Oscar Sanchez of Cleveland PD as well as multiple Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies. The truck was determined to have been recently stolen.
Davis Jr. consistently reached speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour through residential areas where the speed limit was 35 mph. At one point he crashed during a turn and Lognion exited her vehicle with her service weapon drawn, but Davis Jr. was able to drive the 1995 Ford F150 out of the ditch and continue to evade.
On two separate occasions he slammed on his brakes in an attempt to cause the pursuing officers to crash into the back of the pickup truck. He ran through eight stop signs, two red lights, drove the wrong way down the road, struck and damaged Sanchez’s patrol vehicle and almost struck Montgomery County Sheriff’s Sgt. Martin Scott who was outside of his patrol vehicle attempting to lay down a spike strip.
Sgt. Scott fired three rounds from his service weapon at Davis Jr. in a desperate act of self-defense, failing to strike the truck or Davis Jr. The Shepherd man continued down a resident’s private driveway before exploding through a white rail fence, speeding through their yard and crashing into the woods.
He fled on foot into the woods but was eventually apprehended by Lognion and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Porter. An illegal short-barrel shotgun was found on the driver’s side floor board of the truck.
ADA Kevin Barnes, assisted by ADA Tami Pierce, presented the testimony of Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Detective Vince Hatfield and Lognion. Davis Jr. made statements admitting he was the driver and describing actions he took as the driver after being read his rights by Detective Hatfield. The defense moved to suppress those statements during trial.
After hearing the facts and applying them to the law, Judge Cain denied the motion to suppress and determined the evidence could be presented to the jury. Lognion testified next. The defense moved to suppress all evidence obtained after the stop. Judge Cain ruled the stop was proper and the evidence would not be suppressed.
With the consent of Barnes, Davis Jr. changed his plea to guilty in exchange for a recommendation of a sentence of 35 years on the firearm charge and 35 years with a deadly weapon finding on the evading arrest/detention charge. Judge Cain accepted the guilty pleas and the sentencing recommendations. The deadly weapon finding ensures that Davis Jr. serves at least 17.5 years in prison before the possibility of parole.