(Garfield Heights) - Police in Garfield Heights say that Donnie Thomas's freedom from their city jail was short-lived. Thomas died early Friday afternoon at MetroHealth Medical Center after his stolen car crashed into a concrete barrier at the south end of the Jennings Freeway (Route 176).
Thomas attacked a jail guard shortly before 8 O'clock Friday morning and was able to escape the Garfield Heights jail. He had been arrested overnight as the suspect in a robbery at a Walgreen's store.
Thomas was last seen running from the facility on Oakpark Boulevard. Later in the morning, it was believed he broke into a house and stole a car.
That stolen car was seen just before noon on I-480. Police chased the car for a while, but gave up the chase in the interest of safety.
It was after that when the car went out of control, crashing into a center wall of the ramp that carries Route 176 northbound from Brookpark Road and I-480. Thomas was thrown from the car. He died later at MetroHealth.
(Photo courtesy of the Garfield Heights Police Department)