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Akron man pleads not guilty to attempted murder in crash with Cuyahoga Falls police officer

From Staff Reports Published: August 25, 2016 12:16 PM

An Akron man pleaded not guilty Aug. 24 in Summit County Common Pleas Court to attempted murder and several other felony charges in connection with a crash that injured a Cuyahoga Falls police officer last month, according to a spokesman for the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.

Donald R. Watson Jr.'s case was assigned to Judge Lynne Callahan, with a pre-trial scheduled for Aug. 31, said James Pollack, director of communications for the prosecutor's office. Watson's bond was set at $750,000, Pollack said.

Watson was indicted Aug. 22 by a Summit County grand jury on: one count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony; two counts of felonious assault, a second-degree felony; and one count each of aggravated arson, a second-degree felony; failure to comply with order of a police officer, a third-degree felony; vandalism, a fourth-degree felony; and criminal damaging or endangering, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Watson, 46, is accused of driving into the Cuyahoga Falls Police parking lot on July 23 and running into parked patrol vehicles, according to a police department press release. Watson allegedly caused significant damage to three police vehicles, according to the press release.

Watson then fled the scene and officers began to pursue his vehicle, according to police. During the pursuit, police say Watson crossed over into the lane of an assisting officer, Ptl. Ted Davis, purposely striking his patrol vehicle.

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Davis was taken to the hospital. He sustained serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. The hospital subsequently released Davis to a rehabilitation facility. He was soon sent home to recuperate.

Watson also was taken to the hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Watson is also accused of starting a fire at his Akron home, according to a news release from the county prosecutor.

A phone call to Akron Children's Hospital in early August confirmed Watson was in the hospital's burn unit.

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