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Updated: 4:43 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 | Posted: 2:29 a.m. Monday, Sept. 5, 2011

Officer charged in false report of chase, gunfire

By Becky Grimes

SHELBY COUNTY, Ohio —

The Shelby County sheriff said a Port Jefferson police officer has been charged after filing a false report and making up a story about exchanging gunfire and chasing a suspect early Monday morning.

According to Shelby County Sheriff Dean Kimpel, the part-time officer, 30-year-old Michael Blankenship, made up a story about exchanging gunfire with a suspect and crashing his cruiser during a chase.

On Tuesday, three felony charges were approved by Prosecutor Ralph Bauer. They include one count of inducing panic, one count of vandalism and one count of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

"His story had a lot of inconsistencies," said Kimpel. "There were no weapons pointed at him and no one fired at him.

"The crash is what first drew my attention, it wasn't consistent with what he said occurred," said Kimpel.

The sheriff said Blankenship's entire story of exchanging gunfire with a man and chasing him was a lie. However, Blankenship did side-swipe a guardrail which resulted in minor damage to the police cruiser.

Kimpel said Blankenship crashed his cruiser just west of Port Jefferson on State Route 47 shortly before 1 a.m.

He was treated and released from Miami Valley Hospital.

The sheriff said Blankenship was dealing with personal problems. "We do know that he's going through some domestic issues. His wife just recently left him," said Kimpel.

Blankenship is expected to appear in Sidney Municipal Court on Sept. 12.

 
 

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