Man in serious condition after crash in Darke County

Published: Sunday, March 19, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

A man is in serious condition following a two-vehicle crash Sunday morning at Ohio 121 and Oliver Road in Darke County.

Roger Simons, 67, of Greenville was flown by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital from the crash, to which deputies and Gettysburg rescue personnel responded at 6:21 a.m., according to a release from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office.

Simons was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus west on Oliver Road from Ohio 121 when his vehicle struck an eastbound 1997 GMC Jimmy, driven by 78-year-old Gayle Rhoades, of Greenville, according to the release.

Rhoades’ vehicle was stopped at the intersection on Oliver Road when the crash occurred.

The crash remains under investigation.

ATF, Dayton Bomb Squad called after chemicals were found in West Milton

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 8:56 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 10:45 PM

UPDATE @ 10:45 p.m.

Numerous chemicals found in mason jars consistent with fireworks or bomb manufacturing were turned in this afternoon to West Milton police by a resident whose roommate was moving out, police Sgt. Tracey Hendricks said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Dayton Bomb Squad were called to assist West Milton police, and the Dayton squad helped to identify the chemicals and disposed of them in a remote area.

The type and amount of chemicals found was not released. The investigation is ongoing, Hendricks said.


A resident brought homemade explosives to the West Milton Police Department this afternoon, which prompted a response from the Dayton Bomb Squad.

The resident brought the explosives around 3 p.m. to the police department in the Miami County village. Police then requested the Dayton Bomb Squad, according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center. Information on the type of explosives or how they were found was not immediately available.

Police and the bomb squad later were seen outside a home in the 600 block of Debron Road in West Milton. Miami County dispatchers said police have been at the house since shortly before 7 p.m. However, dispatchers were not able to confirm the Debron Road home was connected to the earlier incident or that any devices were found in the home.

Vigil held to remember 14-year-old shot to death in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 7:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 7:59 PM

Dayton police continue to investigate the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old male Tuesday evening. Officials said Wednesday the shooting was a result of a robbery attempt.

  • James Banks Jr., 14, of Dayton identified as teen killed in shooting
  • Dayton police have arrested Jalyn Simmons, 21, on a charge of aggravated murder
  • Banks attended Wogaman Middle School
  • He had been released from juvenile court 9 days before he was shot to death

UPDATE @ 7:2 p.m. (March 29): As many as 30 people, some holding balloons, gathered at a vigil to remember James Banks Jr.

Pastor James Washington, Phillips Temple, said the boy was part of a community outreach program operated in the neighborhood. Banks was part of that outreach, Washington said, and the last time people in the outreach program saw him was March 2014.

“I came out just to show this community that we love them,” he said, “that we are praying for them.”

There is a lot of grief in the community, the pastor said. “Anytime a young person is killed, it affects us all. We just want to be here to share the love of God, and to hope.”


The teen police say was shot on Wexford Place Tuesday night has been identified as James Banks Jr., 14, of Dayton, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said. The coroner’s office has not released a cause or manner of death yet.

Dayton Sgt. Michael Godsey said Wednesday afternoon that Jalyn Simmons has been booked into jail on counts of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the slaying.

“It appears it was a robbery that for some reason didn’t go according to plan,” Godsey said. “We’re still trying to figure out … it set out to be a robbery and then wound up being a homicide.” 

The suspect has a “very minor” criminal record — one traffic citation — which Godsey called “very unusual” for a homicide suspect. 

The teen victim was on house arrest through Montgomery County Juvenile Court at the time he was shot, Godsey said. 

Banks had several charges filed against him in juvenile court during the last two years, including several misdemeanor and felony charges, according to court records. 

He was arrested in June 2016 stemming from a felony robbery. He was also arrested March 9, in a felony burglary. He was released March 20. 

Since April 7, 2015, Banks had 26 charges filed against him in county Juvenile Court — 10 of which were dismissed, according to court records.

Police were called to the 3000 block of Wexford Place about 7:32 p.m. Tuesday after 9-1-1 callers reported up to eight shots fired before as many as three males fled in a car.

Police investigators say it appears a family member took Banks to Miami Valley Hospital, where he died. Officers don't know what sparked the violence, whether Banks was the intended target or hit by gunfire meant for someone else.

Dayton Public Schools officials confirmed Banks as a student at Wogaman Middle School. 

“I reached out to his family on behalf of the district, and spoke with his grandmother to share our sorrow,” DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr said.

“When violence in the community claims one of our students, it strengthens our diligence to keep students and staff safe and secure at school. Dayton schools are on spring break this week, so no children are in class, but counselors or support staff are always available to assist any student.”

The boy’s father, James Banks Sr., said he believes his son was killed in a robbery attempt. 

“Whatever they were trying to get from him, I would have gave to them to have him back,” the father said. “He was a troubled child but he was a good child; he was ours.” 

One of the 9-1-1 callers told emergency dispatchers that a person had been shot multiple times and was on the ground still breathing at the time. The female caller described two to three other males who fled in a tan-colored vehicle. 

“I’m acting like I’m waking up and he’s going to come up that door right now,” Banks said of his son. “Everybody was touched by him. I’m not going to say he was the most positive kid; he was a special kid. … We’re here to help them through their mistakes and now I can never help him through his mistake.”

Tuesday night, crime scene tape was put up around at least three buildings in the Hilltop Homes, an apartment complex on Wexford Place. Evidence was being collected, including clothing left on the ground.

Download our free mobile apps for breaking news and weather

Strong storms may threaten Miami Valley Thursday

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 7:17 PM

A couple rounds of showers and storms Thursday will affect the Miami Valley, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

A powerful spring storm system moving through the Central Plains tonight is producing strong to severe storms in that region. The storms are expected to spread eastward into the Mississippi Valley tonight and move into the lower Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Thursday.

The first round in the Miami Valley is expected late in the morning into the early afternoon on Thursday with a warm front that will be moving across the area.

"These warm fronts can be tricky" Elwell said. "You have to watch them closely for a risk for a few strong storms."

RELATED: Track storms with WHIO Interactive Radar

The greater threat for storms is expected to arrive fairly late Thursday night, he said.

"This is when a line of weakening, but likely still severe storms will push into the western Miami Valley" Elwell said. "This could bring with it one or two storms that could produce damaging winds."

As the line moves east, the storms should weaken as conditions will become less supportive of severe weather later into the night.

RELATED: The difference between Watch vs. Warning

Showers and a few storms will still be possible into Friday, but the severe weather threat will rapidly decrease early Friday morning.


Holocaust survivor shares story of horror of war at Air Force museum

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 6:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 6:45 PM

Samuel Heider lost three sisters, three brothers, his mother and father, and an infant nephew in Nazi concentration camps.

He was the only one in his family who survived.

Heider, 92, of Dayton, spoke emotionally of his treacherous journey through the depths of the atrocities of Nazi run concentration camps over five years at a “Voices of the Holocaust” forum Wednesday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

German dictator Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime killed more than 6 million Jews and millions of others in concentration camps in World War II.


Last surviving Doolittle Raider coming to Air Force museum

Dayton native only surviving Doolittle Raider

B-25s will rumble over Dayton

Along with Heider, Renate Frydman, of Dayton, whose family fled Germany when she was an infant as the Holocaust unfolded, and Ira Segalewitz, 81, of Kettering, related his own and his mother’s survival in a Russian work camp during the war to more than 400 people at the museum.

Frydman told of her late husband, Charlie, who survived Nazi work camps and fled into the forests of Poland for three years where he fought the Germans until the war’s end.

“The stories of the Holocaust are so amazing and have to be told as long as we can tell them,” she said.

Atrocities of the Holocaust

Heider was born in Poland but never returned after surviving the Holocaust. He endured beatings, disease and death marches that killed many while in captivity.

For decades, he said, he could not talk about what happened to him or his family.

In his first brush with the Gestapo, the matriarch of a Polish family jumped in front of him with German guns drawn on him after she inadvertently said his Jewish name while they worked in a farm field.

“She saved my life by risking her own,” he said.

Heider would soon never see his family again.

In 1941, the Nazis confiscated his family’s farm. They were sent with thousands of others to a Jewish ghetto in Bialobrzegi in Nazi-occupied Poland until they were dispersed to concentration camps and faced near certain prospects of death from gas chambers or guns. “From then on, I never saw my mother or my whole family ever again,” he said.

RELATED: Retired local optometrist saw beginning of Holocaust

When he learned of his parents’ deaths at the concentration camp at Treblinka, “I was crying and crying until there was no more tears in my eyes,” he said.

In 1942, he was sent to a munitions factory in Radom. “We were making guns for the Germans so they could kill Jews,” he said.

He was beaten by police.

With Russian troops advancing on Radom, in 1944 he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Decades later, he remembered how he was given a half of loaf of bread when he and his fellow prisoners arrived.

“We said to ourselves, ‘This cannot be Auschwitz,’” he said. “But this was German psychology. They would give us bread in the morning, and send us to the crematoriums to the evening.”

While at Auschwitz, Heider came face to face with Nazi doctor and “angel of death” Josef Mengele, known for his medical experiments on concentration camp victims.

Menglele decided “whether I should live or be put in the gas chambers,” Heider said. He stood in for hours waiting for his fate with rows of people. The Nazi doctor ordered Heider to a line on the right. “Had he motioned me to the left, I wouldn’t be here today.”

In 1945, with the American Army approaching Auschwitz, he was sent to Dachau near Munich, Germany, surviving a death march and train ride to get there. “In Dachau, we didn’t work. We were just waiting to be sent to the gas chambers.”

Concentration camp life was inhumane, he said.

“We lived like animals. No sanitary facilities, no hot water, no showers, no shirts, no underwear, just a camp uniform,” he said. “While being in a concentration camp, we lost all human dignity.”

In 1945, he was liberated. He weighed 75 pounds. “It was a miracle of miracles I survived those five years.”

Repeatedly, he asked Wednesday, why the world and millions in Germany stayed silent in the midst of the Holocaust.

Fleeing the Nazis

As a young boy, Segalewitz lived in Poland, but the Nazi occupation of that country pushed his Jewish family into Russia.

He and his mother survived a German plane’s deadly strafing a cattle car his father had put them on to escape Poland. When the two fled the train during the attack, his mother thought her son was killed when she saw an explosion near him. She found him not moving near a hole.

“She fell on top of me and she’s shaking me, she’s screaming and I opened up my eyes at that point and I said to her, ‘Why are you screaming, mommy,’ he said. “She hugged me so hard I can sometimes still feel her hug.”

They first lived and worked for food on a farm, but with the Germans on the march again, they relocated a second time to a work camp in the Ural Mountains. His mother worked in a factory, he attended school, and they lived in a “flimsy” barracks. They survived on rations of potatoes, flour and bread.

When the war ended, the two returned to their hometown in Poland.

“My mother couldn’t find the house we were living in,” she said. “It was just rubble.”

The Nazis had rounded up and killed 14,000 people who lived in the area, claiming many of his relatives, he said.