A woman narrowly escaped death Monday after her ex-boyfriend shot her in the back before turning the gun on himself in a Milan Road hotel parking lot.
At 8:23 a.m. police were called to an injury crash on U.S. 250. While on the way to the scene, Jennifer Warren, 44, of Milan drove her mangled car to the police station and ran inside, saying her ex-boyfriend just tried to kill her, according to Chief Tim McClung.
Warren said she had just been shot in the back by her ex-boyfriend, Daniel R. Summers, 41, 9700 block of Darrow Road, Vermilion. Police said he killed himself moments later.
The morning's events began as Warren drove to work at Cracker Barrel, where she is a manager. McClung said Summers fired a .32-caliber revolver bullet at Warren when she stopped at a traffic light. The bullet shattered the passenger side window of her Pontiac G6 before hitting her, McClung said.
Summers then rammed Warren's car about 13 times for the next half mile with a rental pickup truck he was driving, McClung said.
"She didn't know it was him," he said.
After Warren made it to the Perkins police station, Summers took off, striking several guardrails before crashing his truck in a ditch outside the Sandusky Fireworks Superstore.
Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Paule, who was on detail at the Best Budget Inn, witnessed the crash. When he arrived at the crash, he saw Summers near the truck with "blood on his face and around his nose, but his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening," according to the sheriff's report.
Summers then took the gun out of the truck, and the deputy ordered him to drop the weapon, the report said.
Summers fired another shot and then a third shot into the air as he walked to the Comfort Inn's parking lot, McClung said. Summers refused to drop the weapon and walked away from the deputy while saying something about his girlfriend, the report said.
Despite pleas from the deputy, Summers fired a final fatal shot to his forehead, the report said. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to the Lucas County Coroner's office for an autopsy.
"The guy just apparently wasn't too responsive," said Erie County Sheriff Capt. Paul Sigsworth. "I think he (the deputy) did the best job he could given the situation. Fortunately nobody else was injured."
Meanwhile, Warren was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center, where she was treated and released the same day.
"The round had lost a lot of its velocity through the window," McClung said. "She was very fortunate due to the angle and the impact."
The bullet exited her body and was located in the front seat of the car, he said.
A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
"I just think it's a sad state of affairs that the emotions get to this point," said Milan police Chief Jim Ward.
Area police officers were aware of at least four other domestic violence type of situations between Warren and Summers in the past year.
Within the last two weeks Ward's department charged Summers with disorderly conduct after an incident between the two.
"She had been into the police department prior to this indicating she was fearful for her safety," Ward said, adding she had inquired about a protection order but did not file one.
Before that, on July 28, Warren told Perkins police officers that Summers threatened to kill her and himself. Perkins police monitored her workplace for five days as a precaution.
Attempts to contact Warren or her family were unsuccessful.
Summers' uncle, Albert Summers, 81, of Sandusky, said Monday he could not believe the news.
"It seems like such a loss," he said. "This is just a shock to me."
Albert Summers, who saw his nephew about once a year, said he was a heavy equipment operator who worked for several contractors.
WHAT PEOPLE SAW
Amy Margheim, Comfort Inn manager, was unaware of the events that unfolded Monday morning behind the building. The employees said it looked like a tire had popped, which they thought had created the accident, she said.
Not long after, a Perkins police officer talked to Margheim about the incident.
"Everything just kind of happened quickly," Margheim said. "It was definitely scary."
Matt Ransom, a hotel employee, was working his shift when the chase ended.
"It was bad," he said. "I went down there to see what was going on and all of a sudden -- boom. He just put a gun to his head (and) takes his life."
By 1 p.m. Monday, all that was left at the scene was a barely visible mark on the pavement. Any evidence of a shooting was hosed down earlier in the day.
"It was pretty crazy," Ransom said. "It kind of freaked me out."
Down the road, P.T. Barnum was greeted by a line of police cars with flashing lights as he pulled up to work at 8:45 a.m. Monday.
"I just thought someone had set off the security system," said Barnum, manager of the fireworks store.
After police left, he walked down to the property's front lawn near the northbound lane of U.S. 250. There he noticed two sets of tire tracks in between the store's entrance and exit signs.
The exit sign had been destroyed, and there were visible tire marks in the northbound lanes leading up to the store's property.
A white pickup truck was pinned up against the guardrail on the other side of the exit ramp of Ohio 2.
"It was pretty bad," said Barnum about the truck.
Reporter Janet Nguyen contributed to this story.
Cheryl Welch 8/27/07 PULLOUT
Past domestic dispute history between Summers and Warren:
* December 6, 2006: Summers calls Erie County deputies about a verbal domestic dispute between himself and Warren. He told deputies Warren threw a beer bottle at him. The two had been together for five years and recently moved in together. Warren told the deputy they began to argue about her moving out. Both said there were no threats or domestic violence.
* July 25, 2007: Deputies respond again to a dispute between the two. Warren said she was in the process of moving out and that ex-boyfriend Summers began arguing with her. Warren said it was only a verbal argument, nothing physical.
* July 28, 2007: Warren calls Perkins police and says Summers has been threatening to kill her and himself. Perkins police monitor her workplace for five days as a precaution.
* August 16, 2007: Warren is staying at a different residence while she gets ready to move, and Summers arrives at the doorstep. He enters the house and confronts her. Warren refuses to give a statement or press charges, but Milan police arrest him for disorderly conduct. Summers pays a waiver on station.
Source: Erie County Sheriff's office, Perkins Township police and Milan police