A traffic crash early Sunday morning in Sandusky puzzled officers when they came across two wrecked vehicles but no occupants in sight.
Joseph Easley, 55, 1400 block E. Larchmont Drive, was subsequently charged with falsification, for allegedly being dishonest about what he knew of the crash, police said.
It was about 5:30 a.m. when officers were called to Monroe and Hancock streets after a caller reported a rollover crash, according to a Sandusky police report. Officers found a Nissan Pathfinder on its side, abutting a tree. The SUV’s windshield wipers and radio were on and the keys were still in the ignition.
Officers called in Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, who determined a Chevy Equinox had been tailing the Nissan at a high rate of speed, when it rammed into the back of the SUV, the report said.
The Nissan then began to fishtail, sliding into the curb and flipping on its side. Investigators believe the occupants escaped through a shattered rearhatch window.
Officers tracked the Nissan to its owner, Easley, who initially said he’d left it in front of an unnamed friend’s home. But later, Easley called a cell phone found in the vehicle. Not realizing a police officer answered rather than his friend, Easley said, “Don’t mention my name. I told the police that the car was stolen” the report said.
Confronted with his slipup, Easley admitted loaning the SUV to a man named “Boopie” in exchange for crack, the report said.
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Officers located Boopie’s father’s number in the phone, and he soon revealed his son’s identity. Officers are now working to contact him.
The Chevy, meanwhile, belonged to a Hancock Street woman. She said her son borrowed the vehicle, and the last contact she had with him was just after midnight, when she told him to return the vehicle.
Charges will likely be forthcoming, police said.