Jefferson County jury hands down indictments

STEUBENVILLE – The Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday returned indictments against a man who jumped off the Market Street Bridge to avoid police capture and a woman who was driving a vehicle allegedly under the influence of drugs and wrecked, causing serious injuries to her daughter.

Shawn F. Birkhimer, 37, of 142 N. Sixth St. was indicted on charges of possession of drugs, escape, theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply with the order of a police officer.

Birkhimer was arrested by Steubenville Police on July 20 in possession of a hypodermic needle, a crack pipe and several pills stamped Clonazepam in his pockets. He was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drug abuse instruments and taken to the Jefferson County jail.

At the jail the next day, Birkhimer complained and showed signs of having a seizure. He was transported to the hospital but left the hospital and broke into a vehicle, police reported. The stolen vehicle was seen by an officer on Market Street.

The officer began to pursue the vehicle onto the Market Street Bridge when Birkhimer stopped the car in the center of the bridge and jumped off the north side of the bridge into the Ohio River, police reported. The officer saw people in a boat and called to them to assist the individual. They were able to pull Birkhimer into their boat and brought him to the shore where a crew from ASI took him back to Trinity Medical Center West. He then was transported in serious condition to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Crystal M. Ross, 29, of 118 Holly St., Mingo Junction, was indicted on charges of aggravated vehicular assault and endangering children.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported Ross was involved in a one-vehicle wreck on state Route 150, Mount Pleasant, on July 25. Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Ross’ 7-year-old daughter was yelling at her mother for crossing the center line. Hanlin said Ross was intoxicated on several different types of drugs.

Ross and her daughter were transported to Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling.

The patrol reported Ross removed her intravenous needle and left the hospital, while her daughter was being prepared to be flown by a medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh with serious injuries.

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