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Driver in crash that blocked I-70 used fentanyl earlier, patrol says

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017 @ 4:48 PM

I70 West at Diamond Mill Overpass crash

A driver involved in a two-vehicle crash that shut down the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Clayton for nearly two hours Thursday night admitted to using fentanyl earlier in the evening, troopers said.

It is the latest traffic accident involving a driver allegedly impaired by opioids.

The driver, identified as Jeremy Hembree, 32, was booked into Montgomery County Jail after the crash.

Troopers said a suspected drug found at the scene will be sent to the crime lab for testing.

RELATED: Drug use passes drinking in fatal crashes

Hembree, who is from New Paris, will be charged with OVI and possession of drugs, troopers said. Hembree was driving with a suspended license.

Drug-impaired driving has for the first time surpassed drunk-driving as the leading factor in fatal crashes, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

About 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, the report said, surpassing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to the report.

RELATED: Driving while high: Drugs are possible factors in more recent crashes

Drugged driving crashes in Ohio increased 25 percent from 2012 through 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. There were 3,574 drugged driving crashes in 2016, which accounted for about 33 percent of all impaired driving crashes, according to state crash statistics.

Recent incidents locally include:

  • Jordan Harville, 25, of Clayton pleaded guilty on Aug. 4 to three felony counts Miami County Common Pleas Court in the death of Anthony Hufford, 28, of Englewood. Harville struck Hufford’s vehicle on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. during a pursuit that began in Miami County. Authorities said Harville told them he had used heroin.
  • In March a driver overdosed and crashed into a tree line along southbound Interstate 75 south of Ohio 725 in Miami Twp. He was revived with Narcan.
  • Also in March, police revived another driver with Narcan after a his vehicle crashed into a wall on Interstate 75 near Tipp City.

RELATED: Clayton man pleads guilty in pursuit crash that killed Englewood man

Sgt. Matt Robinson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton post said Thursday’s accident, which happened around 7:40 p.m. just before the Ohio 49 Greenville exit, involved a gold Chrysler Town and Country minivan and another vehicle.

“It looks like one of the drivers is impaired on drugs,” Robinson said. “He was not injured and was driving the minivan.”

The minivan driver “did admit to narcotics use prior in the evening,” the sergeant said.

Robinson also said contraband was found in the car and that the drug “appears to be an opiate of some kind.”

The driver of the other vehicle was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, Robinson said.

A witness, Kevin Crank of Richmond, said he was helping people in a disabled vehicle off to the shoulder on I-70 when the gold minivan moved past him at high speed. Traffic up ahead was slowing because of a construction zone, Crank said.

RELATED: Overdoses force coroner to use funeral home to store bodies

He said the minivan hit the other vehicle “full force, about 75 to 80 miles an hour.”

Crank said he ran to the accident and helped the driver of the vehicle that had been hit. The man had some cuts, but seemed OK, Crank said.

“The impact… sounded like a bomb going off… It was the worst sound I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Crank said he is glad he was in a position to help.

“And I’m thankful that guy (whose vehicle was struck) is alive,” he said.

RELATED: Opioid reversal drugs being used as precaution at crash scenes

Staff reporterChris Stewart contributed to this report.

COMING SUNDAY

Overdose deaths in Montgomery County took a significant dip in July for the first time this year. On Sunday reporter Lynn Hulsey takes a look at local initiatives attacking drug addiction.

Woman who allegedly helped topple North Carolina Confederate statue arrested

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 4:00 AM

WATCH: Protesters Topple Confederate Statue In North Carolina

The woman who allegedly climbed a ladder to the top of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, and put a rope around its neck so the gathered crowd could pull it down has been arrested.

>> Watch the clip here

Takiyah Thompson, 22, who reportedly admitted she was the one who climbed the ladder — and she said she’d do it again — was taken into custody shortly after protesters held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at North Carolina Central University, according to WTVD in Raleigh-Durham.

She was charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500, and inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500.

>> WATCH: Protesters topple Confederate statue in North Carolina

Those who took part in the toppling of the Confederate statue held the news conference Tuesday to call for any charges related to the incident to be dropped. However, according to WTVD, more arrests could be coming. The video showing the toppling of the statue went viral.

Thompson was given a $10,000 unsecured bond. The World Worker’s Party Durham chapter, of which Thompson is a member, has set up a legal defense fund to help fight her case in court.

>> There are hundreds of Confederate monuments, not just in the South

“The people decided to take matters into our own hands and remove the statue,” said Thompson, a student at N.C. Central University. “We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted.”

More statues could be attempted to be torn down by protestors, according to World Worker’s Party activist Lamont Lilly, who said, “I hope so,” when asked by ABC 11 if more statues would be toppled. She said the group believes the statues are monuments to racism.

>> Read more trending news

The monument that was ripped down was of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle. It was erected in 1924, and inscribed on it are the words “In memory of the boys who wore the gray.”

“I feel like it’s important to tear down these vestiges of white supremacy,” Thompson told WTVD.

13-year-old boy dies from heroin, fentanyl overdose

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:02 AM

What You Need To Know About Heroin

A 13-year-old boy found dead in June in New Jersey died from a deadly mixture of heroin and fentanyl, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has announced in a press release.

According to KYW, how the teen, Vincent Weiner, came into possession of the drugs is unclear. His mother, Jamie Lund, pleaded for the public to find answers about who is supplying such young children with deadly drugs.

“Anyone, anyone who has any information on where he got it, please please please contact me or Chief Leusner or [any] of the officers of the Middle Township Police Department. Whoever is supplying these babies with drugs, needs to be stopped!” Lund wrote in a Facebook post. “My heart is broken, shattered into a million pieces. Thank you all for your continued support.”

>> Mom shares heartbreaking photo after daughter dies from heroin overdose

The Middle Township Middle School student was found unresponsive in bed on June 4 in a Rio Grande home, Ocean City Patch reported. Lund said her son had been bullied in the weeks leading up to his death. He was on his school’s wrestling team and was a Cub Scout.

“The two weeks or so prior [to Vincent’s death] there had been unusual behavior at school, it was discovered that he had been cutting [himself to self-harm],” Lund told news station WCAU. “And stories of bullying in school began to surface.”

>> Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight

Fentanyl is showing up more and more in overdose deaths as a drug being mixed with heroin. The prosecutor’s office said in a news release that fentanyl is an extremely powerful and deadly controlled substance, approximately 100 times more potent than heroin.

Fentanyl is legally available in different forms such as intravenous injections, skin patches, dissolving oral films, lozenges or pills. In its most common illegal use, the substance is converted into a powdered form by drug distributors and mixed at dangerous and unmeasured levels with heroin, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

According to Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor, there has been an increase in the number of heroin bags submitted to the county, which have tested positive for the presence of fentanyl, WCAU reported.

Prosecutors said in their statement that “no one is immune from this epidemic, whether young or old.”

What is Fentanyl?

Suspect clad in hospital scrubs for 3 Lebanon robberies is in jail

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:09 AM

Robert Blevings
WARREN COUNTY JAIL
Robert Blevings(WARREN COUNTY JAIL)

A Lebanon man wearing hospital scrubs is accused of showing a weapon Tuesday night to rob Domino’s Pizza.

Robert Blevings, 50, has an arraignment scheduled for this morning in Lebanon Municipal Court. He was booked early Wednesday into the Warren County Jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery.

RELATED: Warren County Jail bookings

Police were called around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday to the pizza restaurant, 915 N. Broadway St., in Lebanon, to an armed robbery. The suspect fled in a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle.

Police spotted a 2011 Chevrolet Traverse leaving the area of Domino’s. After a short pursuit, the driver stopped and was taken into custody without incident, according to a police Facebook post.

READ: Man pleads guilty in Warren County child sex case

Police said they found a loaded .38 revolver, blue bandanna and a plastic bag containing cash and receipts from Domino’s Pizza in Blevings’ car.

Blevings also matched the description of the suspect in the armed robbery July 25 of The Black Barn, 1161 W. Main St., and the July 30 attempted armed robbery of LaRosa’s Pizzeria, 1871 Deerfield Road, according to Lebanon police.

READ: Franklin father charged for role in son’s scalding death gets 3rd trial

A search of Blevings’ apartment led police to seize items related to the Black Barn and LaRosa’s incidents, including a firearm, clothing and property. Blevings allegedly admitted to committing the two robberies and attempted robbery.

Police said additional charges against Blevings are pending

DEA used GPS tracker to arrest local suspected drug trafficker

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 5:42 PM

Waiman Yu
Waiman Yu

A Drug Enforcement Agency sting led to the arrest of a local man suspected of being part of a large drug trafficking organization for nearly 20 years.

The man — who was once sentenced to six years for conspiracy to commit murder in Greene County — faces up to life in prison if he’s convicted of the crimes he’s indicted on in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

Waiman Yu, 39, was arrested July 17 after the DEA put a GPS tracking device on his car and stopped him with drugs in his Hyundai Elantra, according to a federal search warrant affidavit and return.

RELATED: 26 pounds of crystal meth seized by troopers on I-70

Yu also is connected to a recent case in which 26 pounds of crystal meth was seized during a traffic stop in Preble County, according to court documents.

Yu pleaded not guilty during his Wednesday arraignment to charges of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of meth, possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and felon in possession of a firearm.

Two of those counts include minimum sentences of 10 years to life while the gun charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.

RELATED: Drug cases ‘plaguing our region,’ U.S. attorney says

Task Force Officer Steven Duteil wrote that a source said in June that Yu was transporting a large amount of U.S. currency in a false gas tank from Ohio to California. The source reported Yu was back in Ohio a couple days later, Duteil wrote.

The affidavit said Yu was at the Knights Inn Motel in Miamisburg and preparing to go to Arizona to pick up heroin or fentanyl. The Volkswagen Passat he had been driving was later stopped with 26 pounds of crystal meth in it.

Dennis Olinger and Haley Bigelow, who were in the car, were charged in that case. Bigelow also pleaded not guilty during her Wednesday arraignment.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

In establishing background, the agent also wrote that in 1998, the Dayton DEA had information that Yu was part of packaging and transporting 28 kilograms of cocaine from Ohio to Chicago and handling $500,000 at the direction of Eduardo Bonilla.

Bonilla was convicted in a Greene County murder case in the death of Mark “Corky” Miller and sentenced to life in prison. Yu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit the murder that happened in Yu’s residence and served time in prison.

In June 2016, the DEA had surveillance on Yu meeting with suspected drug traffickers from Columbus at the same Knights Inn, but the surveillance was terminated when nothing criminal was seen.

RELATED: Local drug trade ‘bigger problem than we thought’

Duteil wrote that he obtained a federal warrant for installation of a tracking device on the Passat, which was stopped June 21 in Preble County.

The task force officer wrote that Olinger said he was part of a drug distribution ring operated by a Hispanic male who was incarcerated. Duteil wrote that he believed that person to be Bonilla.

The DEA then got approval to place a GPS device on Yu’s rented Hyundai Elantra, which the agency did from July 12 to July 17.

RELATED: Illinois man sentenced to 11 years for $250K worth of meth

Duteil wrote that vehicle traveled to Arizona for a brief stay and then returned to Ohio. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stopped the car July 17.

A drug dog alerted to the presence of narcotics and law enforcement discovered a kilogram of heroin hidden inside the vehicle.

Yu wore orange Shelby County Jail clothing during his arraignment Wednesday.

Bigelow was not in custody before Wednesday’s hearing. Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said she was in treatment and had been compliant, so her bond would be continued.

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Pretrial conferences were scheduled for both Yu and Bigelow for later this month.

A bill of information for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of meth has been entered for Olinger, who is being held in Butler County Jail.

Tabacchi, who earlier estimated the meth’s street value to be at least $400,000, said the 26-pound seizure was one of the largest in Ohio.