Kidnapping Hero Is FOP Citizen Of The Year

Left to right: Officer Scott Harner, Sgt. Steve Fioritto, Joseph Presley, Officers Michael Perhacs and Ron Bunner.

Every year, the Fraternal Order of Police Western Cuyahoga Lodge #25 reviews incidents that may warrant a Citizen of the Year Award. The award is not always given, however this case in 2018 was certainly deserving.

At about 4:00 a.m. on November 3, 2018, Joseph Presley was working as a driver for Kufner Towing. He called Lakewood Police to report an accident at W.117th Street and Clifton Blvd.

Presley added that the driver of one vehicle forcibly took a female from the accident. He turned his tow truck around and began to follow the pickup truck southbound on W.117th while he continued to speak with the Lakewood Police dispatcher.

The first officer to arrive on the scene of the accident verified that a pickup truck had intentionally struck the vehicle. Somebody then pulled the female driver out of her car and forced her into the pickup truck. Another female occupant was left in the car.

Presley continued to follow the suspect vehicle while giving Lakewood dispatchers information on his location. Lakewood officers were able to catch up to the pickup truck as it pulled into a parking lot near I-90. Two males in the truck were subsequently arrested for kidnapping. No weapons were found. The female was rescued and had suffered minor injuries from the accident but was otherwise OK.

Further investigation found that one of the males was the father of the female’s two children. He had tracked her down in Lakewood and tried to stop her near W.117th and Madison Avenue. When she refused to stop for him, he rammed his truck into the driver’s door of her car, pushing it across W.117th. The female was able to drive away, with him chasing her. When she reached Clifton Blvd., she attempted to turn around in a gas station lot but was rammed a second time. Her vehicle was then pushed up onto a curb and became disabled. The male then pulled her out of the car and forced her into the truck and took off.  

Lakewood officers working that night believe that the female would have been seriously injured or killed by the male if Presley had not followed the vehicle and alerted Lakewood Police. For his actions that night, Joseph Presley was given the 2018 Fraternal Order of Police Western Cuyahoga Lodge #25 Citizen of the Year Award at the Lodge’s January 2019 meeting.

Ed Favre

Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.05.2019