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2-car crash forces vehicle into Dayton house; 2nd driver flees

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:23 PM

A two-car crash this evening forced one car into a house at the corner of Stewart Street and Clement Avenue in Dayton.

A passenger in the car was taken to Miami Valley Hospital with injuries described as minor, according to police.

The second car fled the scene but was found a few blocks away. However, its driver ran from the car before police arrived.

It is not clear whether that driver has been caught and we’re working to learn more information about what led to the crash.

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West Liberty school shooting suspect pleads not guilty by insanity

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

The suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ely Serna, through his attorney Dennis Lieberman, filed the plea by motions this week in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Judge orders competency hearing for West Liberty shooting suspect

Serna has been accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff.

READ MORE: ‘Cole’s Pack’ greets West Liberty school shooting victim

Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Lieberman also filed a motion to dismiss the case in adult court and transfer the case back to juvenile court. A juvenile judge moved the case to adult court earlier this month.

Stop sending EMS to respond to overdose calls, Ohio councilman says

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 12:22 PM

Frustration over the amount of money and public safety services being devoted to drug overdoses led to one Middletown, Ohio, city council member asking if it was possible for the city to not respond to such calls.

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Saying the city needs to think outside the box, Middletown City Council member Dan Picard asked if it was possible for EMS to not respond to overdose calls.

Noting people with cancer don’t get free chemotherapy from medics, nor do people having heart attacks get a free heart bypass in an EMS run, Picard asked if there was a law that requires the city to respond to overdose calls.

MORE: Middletown on pace to double 2016 drug overdose numbers

The city is on pace to spend $100,000 for Narcan when it was budgeted $10,000 for the entire year, according to City Manager Doug Adkins.

Adkins said the city could privatize EMS services, or not have them at all. He said he would seek an opinion from the city’s law department.

Picard, who recently told the Journal-News he is not running for re-election in the fall, suggested issuing a court summons to a person who overdoses and ordering them to complete community service to work off the costs of the EMS run and Narcan.

He said arresting those who overdose only adds more costs to city taxpayers and strains the city jail and court system.

According to Adkins, most of those who overdose are transients and are not residents of the city.

“I want to send a message to the world that you don’t want to come to Middletown to overdose because someone might not come with Narcan and save your life,” Picard said. “We need to put a fear about overdosing in Middletown.”

MORE: Heroin ‘eating’ Middletown’s public safety services


Batman thwarts would-be thief

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

A police officer dressed as Batman stopped a would-be thief in Texas on Saturday after the man attempted to nab four DVDs from a Walmart store, including the Lego Batman movie.

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“You cannot steal my movie,” Forth Worth police Officer Damon Cole joked to KDFW. “Come on.”

Cole was off-duty and dressed as Batman for a kids’ safety fair Saturday when he was alerted to a man who was attempting to shoplift four DVDs, KDFW reported.

“I stopped him as Batman,” Cole wrote in a tweet after the arrest. “He asked me for a selfie as Batman.”

Cole told KDFW that he travels the country in his off time, dressing up in superhero costumes and visiting sick children.

“I do that to give them inspiration and hope to keep fighting,” he told the news station.

In a tweet Monday, Cole wrote that Saturday marked the first time in his 17-year career that he’s arrested someone while dressed as Batman.

“I swear I can't make this stuff up,” he wrote.

Authorities gave the shoplifting suspect, who was not identified, a citation because the DVDs he attempted to nab were valued at less than $100, the Dallas Morning News reported.


Pike County murders: 5 things to know about latest developments

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 6:59 AM

The case of the Pike County murders became more complex this week with investigators asking the public to focus attention on one family.

Four members of that family — the Wagners — are now believed to be in Alaska, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Here are five things to know about the latest developments in the case:

MORE: Alaska pastor says Ohio family attended church Sunday

1. There are no named suspects

DeWine hasn’t named suspects in the case. He has, however, asked the public to focus attention on four members of the Wagner family.

Investigators want more information about Edward “Jake” Wagner, 24, George Wagner IV, 25, George “Billy” Wagner III, 46, and Angela Wagner, 45. All are uncharged.

“We’re not really labeling them,” DeWine said in an interview with this newsroom. “But we are saying we want to have the public focus on these four individuals.”

MORE: Who are the Wagners? Investigators want to know

Wagner family “interactions, conversations, dealings, or transactions … which could be personal, business, or otherwise” are of interest to investigators, with specific emphasis on “vehicles, firearms, and ammunition,” the attorney general’s office said.

2. The Wagners are believed to be in Alaska

DeWine said the Wagners are believed to be living in Alaska.

Kelly Cinereski, pastor at Resurrection Bay Baptist Church in Seward, Alaska, told the Daily News the Wagner family attended his son’s church Sunday a couple hours west in Kenai. The pastor has not seen them personally during the Wagners’ latest trip to the Alaska, but said the family brought trailers.

MORE: Alaska, Ohio police ‘inundated’ with Pike County murders tips

Cinereski said he believes the Wagners are moving to the area — located a winding three-hour trip southwest of Anchorage — something they have been planning to do much of the decade-plus he has known them since he headed a church in Minford, Ohio. Over the past 11 years, the Wagners have come up three times to visit and fish.

3. A grandmother said the family has nothing to do with the murders

Investigators searched the Wagner family’s current and former Ohio property — including grandmother Fredericka Wagner’s Flying W Farm — last month.

Jake Wagner fathered a daughter with Hannah Rhoden. Rhoden was one of the eight people murdered in the massacre from the Rhoden and Gilley families.

“They have nothing,” Fredericka Wagner said Tuesday in a Dayton Daily News interview. “Their searches have turned up zilch. Nothing. And they aren’t going to either because Jake had nothing to do with it.”

MORE: Pike County murders: Searches prompt more questions

Besides Hanna Rhoden, those killed in the attack were her father, Christopher Rhoden Sr.; her mother, Dana Rhoden; her brothers Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Jr.; Frankie Rhoden’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley; a cousin, Gary Rhoden; and Kenneth Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden’s brother. They ranged in age from 16 to 44.

4. Investigators might have a lead, an expert said

Experts said DeWine’s language likely means investigators have a lead in the case, but need more information before making arrests or naming suspects.

MORE: 3 recent developments in Pike County murders case

“Obviously, they have a lead from somewhere,” said Timothy Shaw, a former FBI special agent. “What you do is you get tips,” but then investigators must corroborate them.

DeWine’s office has not responded to Shaw’s comments.

5. There is a $10,000 reward for information

Ohio authorities ask those who have information in the case to call the Pike County Sheriff’s Office at 740-947-2111. Authorities said information provided will remain confidential, and a $10,000 reward is still in effect.

Read more Pike County murders coverage:

» Pike County murders: ‘There will always be a scar on this town’