Ohio 571 reopening today following grain silo collapse, officials say

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 11:44 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 @ 3:36 PM

SKY7: Aerial footage of the continued clean up efforts after grain silo explodes in New Carlisle more than a week after the silo collapsed, spilling tens of thousands of tons of grain all over.

UPDATE @ 3:55 p.m. (Feb. 5):

New Carlisle fire officials said they expect Ohio 571 to reopen by 6 p.m. following the grain silo collapse last month.

UPDATE @ 2:34 p.m. (Jan. 30):The Clark County transportation administrator has extended the closure of Ohio 571, so crews have more time to clean up the scene, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The reopening has been pushed back to Feb. 5, however the road could reopen sooner depending on clean up, ODOT said.

UPDATE @ 10:38 a.m. (Jan. 30):

Ohio 571 near the site of a grain silo collapse is scheduled to reopen Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Sky 7 flew over the scene Tuesday morning, showing the majority of the state route being cleared of corn.

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UPDATE @ 1:32 p.m. (Jan. 25):

The Ohio Department of Transportation said the continued closure of Ohio 571 near Scarff Road is for the safety of drivers as cleanup continues, a decision echoed by multiple agencies.

“Even though State Route 571 is basically clear right now, they still have a lot of piles of corn really close to the roadway,” said ODOT spokeswoman Mandi Dillon.

Dillon said ODOT is a supporting agency in the case and they are working closely with the city of New Carlisle.

ODOT said with the continued cleanup efforts and due to the amount of heavy machinery that has been entering and exiting the road, the decision was the best to make for public safety.

SKY7: Aerial footage of the clean up of exploded grain silo in New Carlisle

UPDATE @ 4 p.m. (Jan. 24)

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, State Route 571 will be closed near Scarff Road until January 31. The official detour will remain as SR 201 to US40 to SR 235. 

UPDATE @ 8:57 a.m. (Jan. 24):

New Carlisle Fire Chief Steve Trusty said corn continues to cover and close Ohio 571 Wednesday after a silo collapse Sunday night.

Trusty said clean up crews are making headway with their efforts, but a lot of debris still needs moved.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will be checking the road to make sure it is safe after the corn is removed, Trusty said.

Additional work needing done because of damage includes moving electrical line and replacing four utility poles, he said.

INITIAL REPORT:

Ohio 571 remains closed in New Carlisle after a grain silo collapse sent 10,000 tons of corn onto the roadway late Sunday evening.

Crews worked delicately Tuesday to prevent any damage to other nearby buildings surrounded by corn, said New Carlisle Fire Chief Steven Trusty.

"Give us the time, because it's not going to go away in a day,” Trusty said. "It's going to be a very slow process."

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Sheriff’s deputies are treating the scene at Miami Valley Feed and Grain Company as a crime scene until criminal activity is ruled out.

“(We’re) considering it to be a crime scene until proven otherwise,” said Maj. Christopher Clark with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.  “We really don’t know what happened to cause the collapse, so we are going to be here to secure the scene.”

Clark said the scene is “very dangerous” and the county is planning to station deputies on the scene around the clock. Anyone that goes past barricades could be subject to charges.

Crews run into issues cleaning up corn after grain silo collapse

Trusty said the corn is being moved onto the property of the grain silo owner for insurance purposes, however once insurance issues are addressed it will be the property owner’s responsibility for removal.

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Ohio 571 is expected to be shut down until through at least today, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.  

ODOT suggested detour is Ohio 201 to U.S. 40, then to Ohio 235, according to a media release. 

ODOT said the road closure times could change depending on the progress of the cleanup. 

Jarod Thrush/Staff

Crews were initially called to Miami Valley Feed & Grain at 880 W. Jefferson St. around 11:40 p.m. on reports of an explosion.

After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that one silo collapsed, rather than exploded, and partially damaged another building as well as caused 10,000 tons of corn to cover Ohio 571.

“What residents heard when they thought they heard explosions were the transformers blowing when the debris hit them”, said Steve Trusty, Chief of New Carlisle Fire Department. 

There were not any employees on site at the time.

The silo collapse took out at least three power poles and power lines, which caused a brief power outage that has since been restored to all area residents.

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Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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Springfield nursing home cited 31 times on health inspections

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 6:10 PM

Two patients allegedly gained access to unsecured narcotics and one of them overdosed at a Springfield nursing home, according to state documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

A Springfield nursing facility accused of allowing a patient to overdose after accessing unsecured narcotics has a much higher number of health citations than the state average — a total of 31, according to a federal website.

Eaglewood Care center also received a statement of deficiency from the Ohio Department of Health after a patient died there in May 2016 after staff, “failed to appropriately monitor and seek timely medical attention when a resident experienced a significant change in condition.”

»RELATED: Springfield nursing home investigation: Patient ODs on unlocked pills

Information from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says the Springfield facility received two enforcement letters that were sent to Eaglewood in 2016 and 2017 that included fines.

The letters provided by the federal agency show the facility was assessed federal civil penalties of $175,000 between April 9 and May 5, 2016, and $9,541 between May 6 and June 21, 2016.

A second letter dated Dec. 29, 2017, says Eaglewood was assessed $78,690 from May 3 to July 27 last year.

Bruce Wertheim, manager of Eaglewood operator Beacon Health Management, said the staff cares about their patients and that many deficiencies noted in the federal letters can be classified as administrative errors. He also said the facility submitted plans of correction to the Ohio Department of Health in each case and constantly works to make improvements to provide better care.

“This, in essence, is what the state survey process is all about: Helping ensure that health-care centers such as ours are providing the very best care possible for our patients and residents. That’s what matters most to us, and we will never stop trying to improve,” Wertheim said in an email to Springfield News-Sun.

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In regards to the patient who died resulting in the state deficiency, Wertheim said his organization took over operating the nursing home in August of 2015 so the incident was less than a year into its licensure period and it was still rolling out its standards.

“Also, since that survey happened almost two years ago, many of the current staff were not involved so it would be difficult for me ascertain the exact reasons for the deficiency cited,” he said.

The facility’s most recent standard health inspection was Dec. 22, 2016, according to the Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare website, which lists its rating as “much below average.”

State and federal officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, which was a holiday for many government workers.

The federal website lists the total number of health citations as 31 and says the average number of health citations in Ohio is 6.2. The Medicare website also shows 16 complaints were filed in the past three years that resulted in a citation.

The site also lists the facility’s staffing and registered nurse staffing rating as above average and quality of resident care as average.

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In a letter dated Dec. 29, 2017, the federal agency noted health surveys were conducted on May 4, June 13 and July 13 last year, to determine if the facility was in compliance with federal requirements for nursing homes. “These surveys found that your facility was not in substantial compliance …” the letter says.

That letter states the Ohio Department of Health notified the facility on June 30, 2017, that the site would receive a mandatory denial of payment for new admissions effective Aug. 4, 2017, and a federal civil money penalty.

However, the letter also says the ODH visited Eaglewood again and said that penalty wouldn’t go into effect. But the facility would be assessed a federal civil penalty of $78,690 for the 86 days between May 3 and July 27, 2017, that the nursing home wasn’t in compliance.

The Ohio health department also sent a statement of deficiency dated June 3, 2016, after a patient died in April that year. The patient, “experienced respiratory distress and received no medical intervention,” the report says.

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The patient’s doctor was paged at 1 a.m. April 9, 2016, and a nurse was awaiting a return call. The patient was assessed again at 2 and 3:30 a.m. and still showed signs of distress, the state report says. The doctor didn’t return the page and the patient was, “found on the floor without a pulse or respirations,” shortly before 7 a.m., the report says.

CPR was attempted but the patient didn’t respond and died, the statement of deficiency says.

Eaglewood took corrective action, the state report says, including staff training on appropriate responses when a patient’s condition changes — such as calling 9-1-1 — as well as auditing doctor’s response time, auditing medical records and deaths and implementing a daily tracking system for lab results.

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The Springfield News-Sun reported last week that the Ohio Department of Health filed a statement of deficiencies for Eaglewood Care Center, 2000 Villa Road in Springfield, after an alleged incident that occurred in December.

Two Eaglewood residents allegedly took oxycodone pills from a narcotic box left unlocked on a medication cart by a licensed practical nurse on Dec. 10, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“This resulted in immediate jeopardy, serious life-threatening harm for one cognitively intact resident with a history of drug abuse …” the statement of deficiencies says.

That report also notes Eaglewood took several corrective actions, and provided a plan of correction to prevent a similar incident in the future.

Once a plan of correction is reviewed, the state will conduct a follow-up survey, ODH spokeswoman Melanie Amato said.

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun first broke the news about accusations that a patient at Eaglewood Care Center overdosed after taking unsecured narcotics and will continue to use public records to dig into the nursing home’s performance.

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Tyra Patterson: Every day is a second chance

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 6:36 AM

Tyra Patterson talks about being released from prison after more than two decades.

The one-bedroom apartment Tyra Patterson must return to each night as part of her probation curfew sits above a Jamaican natural foods store on a bustling street in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

A month after her release from prison, Tyra Patterson still becomes emotional when she relives the day. " I remember when I used to watch people leave and I would say ‘I wonder when its going to be my turn,’ she said. "I still get choked up about it because its still so fresh to me and it was on Christmas which is Jesus’s birthday. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Family and friends donated furniture, lamps and paintings. A pair of running shoes sits next to the door, waffles from Taste of Belgium are tossed on top of the refrigerator and a journal is placed on a wooden kitchen table.

Little hints of her incarceration show through her habits, when she rolls her clothes into tight, little balls before putting them away in a drawer or when she reaches for a prison-issued bar of soap to wash her face.

Patterson, who grew up in east Dayton, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison at age 19 for the murder and robbery of 15-year-old Michelle Lai on Sept. 20, 1994.

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Woman convicted of teen slaying in Dayton released on Christmas Day

Now 42, Patterson was paroled on Christmas Day after Lai’s sister — Holly Lai Holbrook — wrote a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016 vouching for her innocence.

Lai Holbrook, who watched her sister get shot that night, told Kasich: “I no longer believe that Tyra participated in the robbery that led to Michelle’s murder. I believe it is wrong for Tyra to stay locked up.”

Various politicians and celebrities — including the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns — got behind Patterson’s innocence claims. Burns posted a Facebook video in 2016 while holding a sign that says “I am Tyra Patterson.”

David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, helped Tyra Patterson install a security system in her Cincinnati apartment. For the the first time in her life Patterson is living on her own. Singleton helped secure parole for Patterson. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Just a little more than a month into her new freedom, Patterson — like the thousands of inmates who get paroled from Ohio prisons each year — is transitioning to life on the outside. In 2015, approximately 9,386 inmates were paroled from the prison system and 21,343 were released, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction.

» STAYING WITH THE STORY: Tyra Patterson to speak at Wright State tonight

For many, that freedom will be short-lived. A 2012 study showed an overall three-year recidivism rate for inmates released from Ohio prison was about 30 percent.

Patterson has had some struggles since getting out — Fifth Third Bank, for example, first denied a request to open a bank account because she had only her state-issued ID — but in most respects her story bears little resemblance to the bulk of Ohio’s imprisoned population.

Patterson had prominent people fighting for her release. Most inmates don’t.

In prison, she earned her GED, paralegal certificate, furthered her education through several programs and even learned a little Spanish and Arabic. Before prison, she had a limited ability to read or write after dropping out of school.

And when she left prison she had a good job waiting for her: as a paralegal for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center in Cincinnati, which works to protect the rights of prisoners and those who leave prison.

‘Passion to run’

Petite with her hair combed back in a slick bun, Patterson looks nothing like the inmate she was for 23 years of her life. When she first started work she was surprised to learn she could wear jeans on occasion. She quickly acclimated to work life, with appointments scribbled on her calendar behind her desk and voice mails waiting on her phone.

David Singleton, the justice & policy center’s executive director, has represented Patterson since November 2012 and was instrumental in the fight for her release. He said Patterson represents the injustice of a flawed system. But Patterson doesn’t seem to dwell on time lost and says she doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her. She wants to focus on her work.

Singleton said Patterson will rotate duties at the nonprofit, and he and Patterson are currently working on a case with Steven Drizen, a wrongful conviction attorney famous for his work highlighted in the Netflix documentary series “Making A Murderer.”

» IN-DEPTH COVERAGE:Convict seeks clemency, says she was pressured into false confession

Patterson is also training for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati with former Ohio congresswoman Jean Schmidt, an avid marathoner who said she was taken by Patterson’s drive and leadership and impressed by the fact that she organized a 5k run while in prison.

Schmidt took Patterson shopping — for running gear, a professional suit and her first pair of heels at Ann Taylor. That’s another examples of Patterson’s unique post-prison life. Not many former inmates are mentored by a former member of Congress.

“This girl’s got a passion to run,” Schmidt said. “I want to get her across that finish line. She’s getting stronger and stronger.”

Schmidt, a Republican whose nickname in Congress was “Mean Jean,” visited Patterson in prison. “You could see the innocence across her face,” she said. “I liked her from the get-go.”

"I journal every day. Everything I do I journal about," said Tyra Patterson who began writing while she was in prison. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Patterson knows her life doesn’t mirror the typical parolee and she wants to shine a spotlight on the thousands of prisoners who struggle after they are released.

At the nonprofit, Patterson is working to pair recently paroled convicts with re-entry mentors — people who can help them adjust to life after release. 

Patterson herself has 15 mentors — politicians, a rabbi, a prosecutor, lawyers and social justice advocates among them — and they help her with everything from stocking her fridge to keeping up an exercise regimen. She said getting support is vital to making a successful transition.

“They cannot just throw us out there with $75 and no direction,” she said.

“If I didn’t have the people that I have in my life … it would’ve been much harder. I feel like starting this re-entry program with mentors, pairing up with them, will give [offenders] confidence, hope and direction. I’m determined to do that. I want to give back.”

‘I don’t want to forget’

A lot of what happened on Sept. 20, 1994, is still a little murky. Lai, and a group of other girls — including her sister Holly — were out “roguing,” or stealing from garages. As they sat in a Chevy Chevette in an alley near Smithville Road, they got into a verbal altercation with another group of girls, including Patterson and the girl who pulled the trigger that killed Lai: LaShawna Keeney.

Keeney pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the case and received a life sentence. Patterson did not fire the shot — and says she was not involved in the robbery — but under Ohio law accomplices to murder can get the same punishment as killers. Patterson has maintained that Dayton police coerced her into confessing on camera to a robbery she didn’t commit, which opened her up to the aggravated murder conviction. Her defense team also neglected to enter into evidence the 911 call Patterson made to police, saying, “I heard a gunshot.” Not everything she said during the call was accurate, but her supporters have pointed out that while the others were fleeing the scene after the shooting, Patterson was calling police.

Coerced confessions are often obtained from juveniles and young people, according to nonprofit The Innocence Project. More than one out of four people wrongfully convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence made a false confession or incriminating statement, the group says. Factors that influence false confession during a police interrogation include: duress, coercion, intoxication, diminished capacity, mental impairment, ignorance of the law, fear of violence and misunderstanding the situation.

Patterson has said she was told she could go home if she confessed to the robbery. She entered prison in 1995, and after years of maintaining her innocence her case began attracting national attention. But it was Lai Holbrook’s plea that ultimately got her sentence revoked.

Patterson said she told Singleton that Lai Holbrook would eventually come forward. “I would always say, ‘David, Holly is going to come forward,’” she said. “She’s a true hero, honestly. I know that her and I looked at each other that night and it was an energy.”

Patterson says she has never stopped thinking about Michelle Lai and her family.

“I don’t want to forget,” she said.

Life on the outside

Although she was released from prison, Patterson has not been exonerated. She is currently fighting for clemency, and is awaiting word from the governor. A Kasich spokesman told this news organization there is no update on Patterson’s clemency request.

When Patterson filed for clemency in 2013, it was opposed by the victim’s father, who told the Dayton Daily News at the time that it would send “the wrong message.”

“These criminals are going to say what they need to say to get out of prison,” Frank Lai said at the time. “(Patterson) made a decision 19 years ago and she was part of the decision that took my daughter’s life.” Lai could not be reached for this story.

Leon Daidone, chief of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s criminal division, said the community needs to be reminded that Lai, who was gunned down at the age of 15, is the true victim. The family continues to seek justice for her, Daidone said: “While they acknowledge the defendant’s release, they continue to feel that she has never taken ownership of her role in Michelle’s death.”

Unless she is pardoned, Patterson has to abide by specific rules outlined in her probation — including restrictions that prohibit her from crossing state lines, writing letters to current inmates or working with juveniles without court approval.

Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Ohio, who met Patterson years ago, said some of the restrictions make little sense because they make it difficult for her to share her story in a “refreshingly honest way.” 

“What is the logic here? I think we need to start questioning the logic of what we do,” Lehner said. “We want to punish and continue punishing people, and I think that needs to change. People have prepared to re-enter society — are we prepared to accept them?”

Tyra Patterson earned her paralegal certificate during her years in prison. She is now working for the Ohio Justice & Policy Center in Cincinnati. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Adjusting to life after prison

Patterson’s first taste of freedom came on Christmas Day at her brother’s house in Kettering, where she opened gifts and curled up on the couch with her family. The first food she ate? “Potato salad,” she said. “I wanted some potato salad. I just remember eating everything I could get my hands on.” 

Her days now include speaking engagements at local schools and colleges and her work at the justice & policy center. She is often reminded of the technology advances made during the more than two decades she was incarcerated. For example, before leaving prison she had never used a cell phone and, “The first time I saw that a toilet could flush all by itself, I jumped out of my skin.”

Nighttime makes her uneasy, particularly when she hears a not-too-distant gunshot in her inner-city neighborhood.

Still, she knows better than to complain. “You know I have some people saying, aren’t you being pulled into too many directions? And I’m like no, this time it’s the right direction,” she said. “I love it.”

‘She’s mentoring me’

Patterson has already forced changes in the community. Last month, scrutiny over Fifth Third’s decision to refuse to let her open a bank account led to an apology by the bank and an announcement that it is changing its policy.

“We can now remove the time requirements associated with state identification cards and driver’s licenses,” the bank said in a statement.

Cincinnati City Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard — one of Patterson’s many mentors — said the former inmate has broadened her knowledge about the criminal justice system and caused her to think differently about coerced confessions, false imprisonments and recidivism.

“It’s funny she uses the word mentoring, because I feel like she’s mentoring me,” Dennard said. “The fact that she took a devastating situation and used it to grow and better herself is really … the essence of who she is.”

Around the justice center, posters about Patterson’s case are prominently displayed. But a small sign near her desk echoes a message that seems more symbolic of her life: Every day is a second chance.

Singleton said Patterson represents an entire population of people who have been overlooked by the justice system. 

Because of that, and who she is, he said: “I’m willing to walk through fire for her.”

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Suspect in custody after Bellaire Avenue stabbing 

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 4:22 PM

An altercation at 106 Bellaire Ave. resulted in one person being transported to Springfield Regional Medical Center with stab wounds and another person being arrested Monday.

One male was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after an altercation led to a stabbing Monday afternoon. 

RELATED: See more trending stories on WHIO.com

The two person altercation took place at a residence in the 100 block of Bellaire Avenue. The male victim reported injuries to his shoulder and buttocks. 

We will continue to update this developing story with the latest details. 

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Miami County could house federal prisoners for first time in years

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 2:32 PM


            Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.

TROY – Details are being finalized for the housing of federal prisoners in Miami County for the first time in nearly a decade.

Sheriff Dave Duchak said his staff is working with the federal marshal’s service on a contract under which up to 20 prisoners would be housed in pods at the county Incarceration Facility located between Troy and Piqua.

The proposed agreement would allow for up to 15 males and five females. The county would be paid $59 per day, per prisoner and would be paid to transport the prisoners to and from the facility to federal court in Dayton.

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The Incarceration Facility was built in 1999 with the goal at the time of using one half of its four, 60-person pods to house local prisoners and to rent the other half to help offset facility operating costs.

The county housed prisoners for other counties and the federal marshal’s service before the facility was closed at the end of 2009 because of budget cuts blamed on the recession. The sheriff’s office reopened one of the facility’s pods in 2013, the second in 2014 and a third last year.

Last year, the sheriff’s office again started renting a few beds to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Greenville police. More recently, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office has been renting beds. Those agencies are using about 10 beds a day. Last year, the sheriff’s office brought in around $100,000 from bed rentals.

“I don’t have a problem renting out beds as long as it doesn’t hurt our judges’ ability to incarcerate,” Duchak said.

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County Commission President John “Bud” O’Brien said he and fellow commissioners are “certainly in favor of the sheriff renting beds to whoever he can.” The rentals help supplement the cost of operating the facility, he said.

“We haven’t seen the contract yet, but are looking forward to seeing it,” O’Brien said.

Duchak said the arrangement for housing federal prisoners would be like the previous agreement.

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Miami County also has a jail at the county Safety Building in Troy, where up to 48 prisoners can be held. That space is used for primarily for violent offenders, while nonviolent offenders are housed at the Incarceration Facility. The federal prisoners would be nonviolent people facing charges for financial and other crimes, Duchak said.

Before the sheriff’s office could open the fourth, 60-person pod, it would need to hire six additional correction officers. That process would take at least nine months, Duchak said.

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