By: Bethany Bruner

Shannon E. Currier, 44, was killed Wednesday after her on-again, off-again boyfriend, 38-year-old Christopher McCleese II, crashed the vehicle he was driving while fleeing Gahanna police. Currier was a passenger in the vehicle.

Dash camera footage from Gahanna police shows a man who was wanted for choking his girlfriend into unconsciousness was going about 90 mph before he crashed the vehicle he was driving.

The crash killed Christopher McCleese II’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, Shannon E. Currier, 44, of Gahanna.

Arik Ederi has been Currier’s best friend for nearly two decades and said the relationship between Currier and McCleese, 38, was volatile and violent.

“It’s one of those toxic relationships and has been for a long time,” Ederi said. “Nothing keeps him away. She’s reported it to parole and probation and the courts and she’s gone above and beyond to protect herself as much as possible.”

One of Currier’s neighbors had called police around 7 p.m. Wednesday to alert Gahanna police to McCleese leaving Currier’s home on Park Avenue.

A short time later, officers spotted McCleese in the area of East Johnstown Road. McCleese fled, with Currier as a passenger in the car.

Police said the pursuit lasted about four minutes before McCleese lost control of his vehicle, a four-door sedan, and crashed into a tree on Clark State Road near Headley Road. The dash camera footage shows officers estimated McCleese’s speed at about 90 mph shortly before impact.

When officers arrived at the crash site, McCleese fled the vehicle on foot in the direction of Hannah Park, which is located nearby. He was found around 7:40 p.m. and taken into custody after a short foot pursuit with officers, according to Gahanna police records.

He was taken by medics to Mount Carmel East Hospital for treatment of injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

He has since been released from the hospital and booked into the Franklin County jail on an outstanding warrant for felonious assault, which police had been looking to serve on McCleese when the pursuit began, police said.

The charges stemmed from a domestic incident on Jan. 3 in which Currier accused him of hitting her in the face and back of the head with a closed fist, as well as choking her to the point of losing consciousness, according to court records.

According to a police report from the Jan. 3 incident, Currier told police McCleese had recently begun staying with her again after the pair rekindled their relationship.

Currier said McCleese had been using methamphetamine and heroin and been acting strangely in recent days, calling her names and accusing her of engaging in affairs with other men.

The report said Currier refused medical treatment, despite visible injuries on her face and symptoms of a concussion. Officers conducted a lethality assessment, an oral series of questions used by law enforcement to determine the risk a domestic violence victim faces from her attacker, and the report said Currier was deemed a “high risk” based on her answers.

Officers noted in the report that Currier declined to speak with a victim advocate but was given information about a local women’s shelter and the process to obtain a restraining order.

Court records show McCleese has several prior domestic violence arrests dating back to 2008, as well as prior convictions for carrying a concealed weapon and aggravated burglary and had been charged with violating a protection order.

That charge was related to a protection order Currier had sought against McCleese in July 2018. A police report from the incident showed McCleese had called Currier more than three dozen times within a 24 hour period 12 days after the restraining order had been issued.

The case was ultimately dismissed in November 2019 at the request of prosecutors, according to court records.

Ederi said he was struck by the irony in McCleese fleeing the vehicle as Currier lay mortally wounded inside.

“The person he’d been chasing non-stop, he left to run away from the police,” Ederi said. “I am relieved that she didn’t die looking into his eyes.”

He said Currier was a person with a big heart who loved animals and worked retail jobs most of her adult life because of her affinity for people.

“She’s bubbly, she’s happy,” he said. “When she laughs, you have to laugh. She has this ditzy, obnoxious laugh, but it’s addicting.”

Ederi said he hopes McCleese will remain behind bars for a long time, something that hadn’t happened after what Ederi said were other violent episodes, including one in which Currier suffered a broken back.

“I just hope that this time it sticks,” he said. “He’s a habitual offender.”

McCleese is likely to face additional charges once laboratory results related to the crash are available, police added.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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