In a move certain to draw the ire of Governor DeWine, members of the Ohio Senate Transportation Committee took the House version of the proposed hike in the State Gasoline Tax and cut it even more. With the Governor submitting a plan to raise the Tax by 18 cents per gallon, the Committee’s 6-5 recommendation on Thursday proposed a hike of just six cents…one-third what DeWine requested and far below the House version of 10.7 cents per gallon.
Less than two months after his death, a portion of the street where singer-songwriter-producer James Ingram grew-up in Akron has been named in his memory. City officials, family and loved ones gathered as the sign was unveiled to designate a portion of Fuller Street in east Akron as “James Ingram Way.” Ingram grew-up along Fuller Street between Fifth and Seventh Avenues, graduating from East High School in 1970 and moving to California…where he became known world-wide in a very successful career in the music industry. On January 29, Ingram died from complications of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 66.
A 20-year-old Cleveland man will spend the next few years looking at prison walls for a crash last year that killed a woman riding a scooter in downtown Cleveland. Scott McHugh appeared in court on Thursday to get an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. On August 18 last year, police were called to East 9th Street and St Clair Avenue after McHugh’s car struck the rear of the scooter, throwing 21-year-old Jenasia Summers to the ground. She died at the hospital and police found McHugh passed-out behind the wheel. He admitted that he did a hit of heroin before the incident and said he had been doing drugs since the age of 15.
A couple who admitted their crimes has been sent to prison for the murders of a man and his live-in girlfriend in Cleveland. 42-year-old James Hill and 31-year-old Barbara Wolford appeared in Cuyahoga County Court, where they both pled guilty to charges of murder and aggravated robbery for the slayings of 63-year-old Harold Emery and 54-year-old Rita Berish. The pair were murdered inside their home in the 3100 block of Scranton Avenue in Cleveland, where their bodies were found on June 8 last year by police on a welfare check. Emery had been shot and Berish was stabbed to death. Hill’s first chance at parole won’t come until he spends at least 35 years in prison. Wolford’s first chance of freedom will come after she serves 25 years.
A lawsuit that had been filed against a former Buchtel High School teacher has been dismissed by a judge in Akron Federal Court. The judge issued a ruling this week that said the litigation came too late to meet the parameters under the statute of limitations…with more than two years having passed since the incident. The student filed the lawsuit last August, naming 38-year-old Laura Cross along with the Akron and Tallmadge City School districts, claiming violations of civil rights and violations of Federal education laws. The student had a sexual relationship with Cross, who became pregnant with his child and gave birth in December of 2015. She pleaded guilty in March last year to three counts of sexual battery and is currently in prison.
A not guilty plea was entered on Thursday by a suspect in a murder in Mansfield. Bond was set at one-Million dollars for 31-year-old Cody Lutz, who’s charged with aggravated murder for the Tuesday morning stabbing death of 90-year-old Omar Brown. Police were called to an apartment complex in the 1800 block of Middle-Bellville Road around 8:00AM, arriving to find the victim dead on the scene after he had been stabbed multiple times. Lutz was located and taken into custody shortly before the Noon hour in Medina County. Investigators have not mentioned a possible motive for the crime.
A man from Bath accused in a fatal hit-skip incident that happened early this month made his first appearance in court on Thursday. 56-year-old Monte Porter III entered not guilty pleas to charges including vehicular homicide, felony hit-skip and driving under suspension following his Wednesday arrest by Akron Police. Porter allegedly lost control of his vehicle on Merriman Road on the morning of March 3, going left-of-center and hitting a curb and tree before hitting 73-year-old Ernest Liska as he was picking-up his morning newspaper. The vehicle didn’t stop until it hit a light pole. Liska later died after being taken to Akron General Medical Center. Porter saw his bond set at a quarter-Million dollars during Thursday’s hearing and remained in Summit County Jail.
The Richland County Sheriff’s office is continuing the investigation into the shooting death of a person in Mifflin Township. Deputies responded to a home along Frontier Trail a short time before 11:00PM Wednesday night, arriving to find the victim dead on the scene. Authorities later identified him as Austin Smiley and said that he died of a gunshot wound. A person of interest in the case was taken into custody but wasn’t immediately named. No further details were provided and the incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s office, the Ohio BCI and the Richland County Coroner.
General Motors says there are other companies coming forward to inquire about a possible future purchase of the now-closed Lordstown Assembly Plant. GM acknowledged to Automotive News this week that the firm is open to offers for a possible future sale of the facility. President Trump’s visit to Ohio on Wednesday included another call for GM to re-open the plant or sell it off to bring jobs back to the Mahoning Valley. General Motors has said that the future at Lordstown and other plants that are being closed this year is pending the outcome of national contract talks with the United Auto Workers International. The current contract remains valid until September.
A defendant who was 15 years old when he went on a crime spree that included a murder has been sent to prison…and won’t see the light of day as a free man until he’s in his 40’s. 17-year-old Eddie Burns was charged as an adult on multiple counts including aggravated murder and aggravated robbery…then pleaded guilty on March 14. Facing a prison term between 12 and 30 years, a Cuyahoga County Court judge on Thursday handed Burns a 27-year sentence behind bars. He embarked on the crime spree in August of 2017 and continued until he was arrested in February last year – but not before his most heinous crime on February 7…when he attacked 81-year-old Willie Watts Jr and his 76-year-old wife, Della in the driveway of their home along East 99th Street in Cleveland. The elderly man died on March 29.
The family of a 14-year-old boy who caused problems in a classroom and was taken to the ground by a staff member will get a big payday in the form of a settlement, agreed-to by Canton City Schools and the attorney representing the kid’s family. The school district agreed to pay 275-Thousand dollars to settle the litigation that was brought against the system, involving a December 2017 classroom incident that was recorded on cell phone video. The family claimed that an intervention specialist violated the student’s rights in the confrontation. The staffer and the district will pay equal shares of the settlement cash to the family of the teen…with the school system agreeing to continue providing crisis prevention training for staff members. The cell phone video showed the student apparently behaving in a disrespectful manner…then pulling-away as the staff member grabbed for his arm to remove him from the classroom. He then grabbed the teen by the neck and took him to the floor.
A former Columbus Police Vice Squad officer and long-time veteran of the department was in Federal Court in Columbus on Thursday, when he pled not guilty to charges he forced women to have sex with him under threat of arrest if they refused. Andrew Mitchell is also charged with witness tampering and providing false information to Federal investigators. His lawyer was expected to ask the court to reconsider an order from a Federal Magistrate that denied the officer bond, but decided against the request and told the judge he wants to see the evidence against his client first. Prosecutors told the court they considered Mitchell a flight risk and that he poses a danger to the community…claims the defense lawyer refuted. Mitchell, who resigned from the department on March 13, remains the target of a state investigation into the shooting death of a prostitute who stabbed the officer in the hand while she sat in the back of his unmarked patrol car.
A suspect has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery that went-down last Summer on Akron’s north side. Akron Police on Thursday announced the arrest of 25-year-old Corey Smith Jr of Bell Street in Barberton. Police say he was allegedly involved in a July 7 incident last year at Dollar Magic in the 1100 block of East Tallmadge Avenue. A worker was at the desk when two suspects entered, one keeping watch while the other circled-around the store and went to the counter, put a gun in the face of the employee and demanded money. The armed bandit took cash from the register drawer and both suspects fled the store. Smith has been booked into Summit County Jail on a robbery charge.
A father and son both lost their lives in a one-vehicle crash that happened on Thursday morning in Mahoning County. The State Highway Patrol’s Canfield Post reports the wreck happened shortly after 7:30AM along Sixth Street near State Route 289 in Campbell, where 41-year-old Paul Pickett was driving his Jeep southwest and lost control. The Jeep went off the side and hit an embankment, going airborne and rolling-over. Pickett and his 11-year-old son, Marcus, both died at the scene of the accident. The Lowellville School District brought grief counselors to the school the boy attended once word of his death became public. The State Patrol is still investigating the incident.
An employee at an area doctor’s office has been charged with stealing Thousands of dollars from her employer. Amanda Hahn of Austintown appeared in Canfield Municipal Court this week for arraignment on initial charges of forgery and aggravated theft. She was arrested by police following an investigation that determined Hahn had allegedly stolen 182-Thousand dollars from the office of Dr Gregory Zinni. Hahn was employed as the office manager at the facility along US Route 224 when the probe got under-way in mid-January. Investigators determined that Hahn allegedly ripped-off money by stealing deposits, forging checks, misusing credit cards and manipulating the payroll through actions that reportedly happened over a three-year period starting in 2015. Hahn pleaded not guilty during a court appearance this week and was allowed to go free on bond.
A life prison sentence has been imposed on a Wayne County man for the stabbing death of his mother. 56-year-old Charles Ferguson of Chippewa Township went before a Wayne County Court judge, who told him that he may get a chance of parole after he serves at least 15 years in prison. Last month, Ferguson copped a guilty plea to a murder charge for the incident that happened in September last year, when he stabbed 73-year-old Linda Ferguson several times inside their home at a mobile home park. She was taken to a hospital, where she died of her wounds around a month after the attack.
Two suspects were arrested on robbery charges following an incident this week at a Columbus gas station – and those suspects are a pair of 12-year-old girls. Police report the girls were among a group of some 15 kids who walked into the business in the city’s Hilltop neighborhood shortly after 4:30 Tuesday afternoon…then began taking items from the shelves and leaving without paying for them. A clerk stopped the girls at the door and one of them knocked the employee to the ground, causing the victim to suffer a broken wrist. Surveillance footage was used to identify and track-down the suspects after the incident that happened in the 2800 block of West Broad Street.
Now that a former Vice Squad officer in Columbus has been charged in a Federal indictment, the City Prosecutor has dismissed the charges that had been filed against women in 18 separate prostitution cases. Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said this week the 18 cases involve charges that evolved from arrests made by former Officer Andrew Mitchell. He was indicted March 11 on charges that he forced at least two women to have sex with him, threatening them with arrest if they turned him down. He resigned from his job two days after the indictment was announced. Meanwhile, Klein’s office is conducting reviews of cases involving Mitchell that date back to the start of his three-decade career with the Police Department.
One facet of the Governor’s proposed two-year state budget is a plan to create a so-called state narcotics intelligence center to work exclusively on the issues involving the opioid epidemic. If approved by the Legislature, the new center would be set-up in two areas – Cleveland and Columbus – and begin an unprecedented effort at collecting data from the more than 40 task force operations run by police throughout the state. The Ohio Department of Public Safety had noted that law enforcement officials have previously told the Governor’s office they want access to data gathered through investigations at other departments. The state budget plan includes a 3.25-Million dollar funding request to meet that need and another 2.5-Million to support drug task force efforts throughout Ohio.
The total number of wrongful-death lawsuits that have been filed against a Columbus hospital group and a former doctor continues to grow. As of this week, a total of 26 of those lawsuits had been filed against Mount Carmel Health System and 43-year-old former Critical Care Dr William Husel. The latest two rounds of litigation claim the doctor ordered excessive doses of fentanyl for 40-year-old Ryan Hayes in April 2017 and 37-year-old Brandy McDonald in January last year. The system found that Husel had allegedly ordered excessive, potentially fatal painkiller doses for 29 patients over the course of several years…with five among them given the high doses when there was a chance to improve their conditions.