Testimony concluded Thursday in Medina County Common Pleas Court in the trial of semitractor-trailer driver Jibril Hersi, accused of eluding police and attempting to run into an Ohio Highway Patrol vehicle in Medina last year.
A jury of seven women and five men began deliberations midday Thursday and had not reached a verdict by evening.
The prosecution rested its case by reiterating law enforcement officials’ testimony that Hersi, 49, of Minneapolis, resisted multiple attempts to pull him over on Interstate 71. In addition to felonious assault, a second-degree felony, Hersi is charged with one count of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony.
Medina County assistant prosecutor Scott Salisbury told the jury that Hersi’s denial of officers’ testimony that he was irate and belligerent when he finally pulled over March 6 means that either he or the officers are lying.
“There is no middle ground,” Salisbury said. “Four witnesses testified he was angry when finally arrested.”
The state presented dashboard camera video of the incident showing three Ohio Highway Patrol vehicles and a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration official pursuing Hersi for several miles with lights and sirens on.
“You have to decide what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard,” Salisbury said.
Defense attorney Paul Grant agreed the jury will have to believe “one or the other” testimony. But he said the dashcam footage of the incident shows that Hersi “did not drive in an unsafe manner” as the officers said.
As the trial opened Tuesday before Judge Christopher J. Collier, two patrol troopers and a commercial trucking safety official described their attempts to pull over what they described as a belligerent Hersi.
Richard Bell, an official with the safety agency, said he was unable to get Hersi to pull over for a routine inspection last year.
Bell testified Tuesday that Hersi swerved at his vehicle instead of pulling over after he motioned him to the side of the road.
Trooper Matthew Mossor said he was concerned that officers were going to have to shoot Hersi during the arrest.
Hersi, testifying through a Somali interpreter, said Wednesday that he drove several miles before stopping because he was trying to find a safe spot to pull over.
Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.