Police defend use of stop-sticks in fatal crash

Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 6:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 6:00 PM

Maj. Rodney Muterspaw of the Middletown Division of Police knows people will question why stop-sticks were used in a deadly crash that claimed the life of a 28-year-old Tuesday morning.

But the move to place the tire-deflating devices at the corner of Grand Avenue and Highland Street was “a good decision,” Muterspaw said Tuesday.

Clearcreek Twp. Police Chief John Terrill said he wasn’t going to debate the “national issue,” but added if the driver had pulled over as he was directed, he’d probably be alive today.

“He made a dumb decision,” Terrill said. “That’s unfortunate, but that’s what happened.”

The high-speed pursuit began around midnight when Sgt. Curtis Hensley of the Clearcreek Twp. police department clocked a black, 1994 Honda Civic traveling 84 mph in a 40 mph zone in the 2000 block of Ohio 122, Terrill said.

The driver, McGovern S. Flener, 28, of Monroe, formerly of Hamilton, who had a lengthy driving and criminal record, was ejected after his vehicle wrecked about 10 minutes later in Middletown. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his passenger, Melissa Griffin, 20, of Warren County, was listed in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

Muterspaw said the decision to use the stop-sticks was made by Lt. Jim Cunningham, the shift supervisor. Muterspaw said it’s the department’s policy to use the sticks as a way to stop vehicles and to “protect our citizens.”

After the officers put out the sticks, they hid behind their cruiser and a utility police, Muterspaw said.

After having at least one of his tires flattened, Flener drove about ¼-mile before he crashed into the median and utility pole at the corner of Grand and Stanley Street. Flener and Griffin were ejected and neither was wearing a seat belt, Terrill said.

Flener was weaving and driving reckless, causing Sgt. Hensley to suspect he was impaired, Terrill said.

Terrill said as Flener drove on Ohio 122 near Hunter, someone in the car threw items out of the car. Terrill said police officials searched the road overnight and Tuesday morning, but were unable to find any evidence. He said Flener refused to pull over after Hensley turned on his lights and sirens. He said the pursuit continued on 122 to Grand Avenue and the crash site.

Beer cans were found at the crash site and a receipt showed that beer was purchased earlier in the evening in Middletown, Terrill said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, Muterspaw said.

Flener was driving with a valid license and did not have any warrants, Terrill said.

Terrill said Flener has a lengthy felony criminal record with convictions for permitting drug abuse, possession of drugs, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and theft.

Dayton Catholic high schools to begin drug testing all students

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 12:50 PM

The Chaminade Julienne soccer team practices on the newly opened Eagle Field next to Roger Glass Stadium at Longworth and Eaker Streets.  TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Ty Greenlees

Two Dayton Catholic high schools will implement mandatory drug testing for all students.

Both Carroll High School and Chaminade Julienne High School are adding the mandatory drug tests as a part of a larger Health and Wellness Program, according to school officials.

Carroll’s policy change goes into effect during the 2017-18 school year; while Chaminade Julienne’s will begin in 2018-19.

Next year, CJ will offer the testing on a voluntary basis.

RELATED: Wayne Local Schools drug-testing students

Both schools say the program is not punitive in nature, but an opportunity to educate students and address addiction to drugs and alcohol at a young age. Only students who repeatedly test positive for substance abuse will be disciplined. 

The schools each cited the opiate epidemic in the country, as well as the Miami Valley in particular, as one reason for heightened concern. 

RELATED: ‘Study drugs’ put students at risk medically, legally

“You can’t open the Dayton Daily News or turn on Channel 7 and not hear, unfortunately, really unfortunate stories about people who are overdosing on these very lethal drugs,” said Principal Matt Sableski of Carroll High School. 

Chaminade Julienne Principal John Marshall told this news organization he hopes the extra year will give the school ample time to address any concerns parents may have during the transitional stage.  

Where is news happening in the Miami Valley?

Carroll and CJ are the first in the Miami Valley to require drug testing of all students, but they follow the direction of a handful of other private high schools in the state. As the law currently stands, public schools can only require testing of students involved in extra-curricular activities.

RELATED: Covington schools students to be drug tested

UD Marriott says its owed money for canceled WSU debate rooms

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 12:24 PM

Marriott at the University of Dayton.

Fallout from Wright State University’s lost presidential debate is surfacing again as a local hotel seeks at least $170,000 in damages for canceled rooms.

Attorneys representing Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co., the management company that runs and is partial owner of the Marriott at the University of Dayton, filed a lawsuit today against Wright State in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Lawsuit claims ‘infighting, buffoonery’ caused WSU to lose debate

The lawsuit also names as defendants John McCance, a consultant who helped WSU secure the debate, and his consulting firm as well as the Commission on Presidential Debates.

According to the lawsuit, 130 rooms were booked for the debate commission at the Marriott on Patterson Avenue in Dayton. Although the debate was cancelled, the hotel contract called for 75 percent of the hotel costs for the rooms to be paid, according to the lawsuit.

Officials from the University of Dayton and Wright State declined to comment on the dispute. A spokesman for the debate commission could not be reached to comment.

UD and Concord jointly bought the Marriott for $18.5 million in 2014. Though the university is a part owner and the hotel bares UD’s name, it is not considered a university facility, according to a 2014 release.

RELATED: Wright State hits its ‘low point’ with announcement of 71 layoffs, budget cuts

The Marriott was chosen for the debate because it met requirements set forth by the debate commission and the United States Secret Service, McCance said.

The hotel dispute comes just a few months after McCance filed a lawsuit claiming personal damages over the canceled debate.

McCance in January filed a $1 million lawsuit against Wright State, alleging that infighting and “epic gross buffoonery” caused the commission to pull the first debate from WSU. McCance’s lawsuit contradicted former president David Hopkins’ announcement on July 19 that WSU chose to withdraw from the Sept. 26 debate because of rising costs.

Wright State is responsible for the hotel payments, McCance said, because Hopkins told him to book the block of rooms at the Marriott. WSU is now saying that McCance is responsible for the room cancellations, the consultant said.

FIRST REPORT: Wright State withdraws from 2016 presidential debate

A letter from the hotel’s attorneys states McCance may not have had the authority to book the rooms, despite the fact that he was hired to bring the debate to Wright State.

McCance said he doesn’t think Wright State’s claim that he didn’t have authority to book hotel rooms is retaliation for the lawsuit he filed, but rather a reflection of the university’s recent struggles. Wright State has not brought any legal action against McCance for the hotel room dispute.

“(WSU’s troubles) are due to much broader systemic and cultural problems with the university than me filing the lawsuit,” McCance said.

RELATED: Many factors broke Wright State’s debate dream

Wright State has been plagued by scandal and budget problems over the last two years. The university is under federal investigation for possible immigration-related wrongdoing and in April the school released a long-guarded audit of its research funding. On Friday, WSU announced it would likely lay off 71 employees and eliminate 107 jobs in an attempt to correct years of overspending.

TIMELINE: How Wright State lost the first 2016 presidential debate

McCance said WSU’s claim that he did not have the authority to book hotels came as a surprise to him. He had previously booked rooms for members of the commission on at least three occasions prior to WSU being awarded the event.

Bringing the debate commission into the hotel dispute could have long-term implications for the area, McCance said.

“Dragging the commission into it just further alienates them,” McCance said. “I’m afraid because of this, the university and Dayton region will never see a presidential debate.”

A Wright State spokesman said the Marriott was the only hotel booked because the university was only responsible for finding hotel accommodations for the debate commission. The Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau said there is no way of knowing if or how much the lost debate could have impacted area business as a whole.

Continuing coverage

The Dayton Daily News is your best source for information on Wright State University’s canceled presidential debate. Follow our higher education reporter on Twitter at @MaxFilby for updates on higher education news from around the Miami Valley.

West Chester may be site of medical marijuana grow operation

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 1:05 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

            West Chester Twp. and Oxford are among Butler County communities that haven’t come out with moratoriums or bans on such businesses.

A West Chester Twp. business owner has informed officials he wants to open a marijuana cultivation business here, but says he won’t force the issue if the township decides to ban such businesses.

David Haley told trustees Tuesday that he wants to locate in the township because he already owns a pharmaceutical business here and thinks West Chester Twp. should get the tax benefit.

MORE: Warren County to get medical marijuana farm

West Chester Twp. and Oxford are among Butler County communities that haven’t come out with moratoriums or bans on such businesses.

“I have no interest in trying to force my way into a community that either just hasn’t really thought it all the way through or if they are not 100 percent clear on which direction they want to go…,” Haley said. “I’m not here with a team of attorneys to tell me what my rights are or to tell you what my rights are in trying to start this business.”

MORE: West Chester to debate medical pot regulations

West Chester Twp. trustees elected Tuesday not to take any action on medical marijuana businesses the state has sanctioned, saying they need more time to educate themselves on medical marijuana.

Haley is interested in opening a level 2 cultivation business — maximum 3,000 square feet — in an industrial area.

“I’ll be utilizing greenhouses to actually grow the cannabis, completely enclosed,” he said. “No one will know what is going on at this location by simply driving by or walking by. It will be out of sight.”

MORE: Oxford official says medical pot could be good for business district

Trustee Board President Mark Welch was leaning toward a moratorium — or temporary ban — on medical marijuana businesses Tuesday night, but his two fellow trustees said they wanted to wait.

Trustee George Lang said he remains steadfast in his belief that any action at this time is premature because the state has not yet released all the rules governing the cultivation, testing and dispensing of the drug. Those are due in September.

“I still feel the same way,” Lang said. “We’re waiting to see what the state’s ultimate rules are going to be. I think we’ve got somewhat of what they are going to be in terms of cultivation but not in terms of sales. I think we’d be premature in doing anything until we see what the state’s going to do.”

Ohio is still deciding how many dispensaries and testing laboratories will be allowed, but said earlier this month there will be 24 cultivator licenses — 12 large and 12 smaller operations — to begin with.

RELATED: Drug rehabilitation doctor sues West Chester Twp.

Hamilton, Middletown and Fairfield have banned the sale of the drug and Liberty, Fairfield and Ross townships have placed moratoriums on the industry as they see how the rules roll out.

The law doesn’t permit smoking pot but permits vaporizers, patches, edibles and oils and the program will be implemented in September 2018.

Testimony underway for teen accused of murder in Fairmont student’s shooting death

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 2:53 AM

UPDATE @ 12:36 p.m. (May 24):

Montgomery County Juvenile Court psychologist Dr. Laura Fujimura testified for more this an hour, saying her investigation has shown several counseling attempts dating back to 2012 have failed.

Since being charged in Bowers' shooting, his lack of willingness to work with juvenile court counselors has continued.

She said Gregory has expressed a sense of entitlement, which she called "a relatively consistent theme" with him.

"An individual who has an air of entitlement doesn't readily accept the consequences or punishment" for their actions, she said.

Fujimura was one of three witnesses to testify for the prosecution this morning.

Fairmont High School Unit Principal Andrew White told the court Gregory was put into a special program at the school, initially because of academic issues.

The teen later experienced behavioral issues, he said.

But White said Gregory was not in a situation where expulsion was considered.

UPDATE @ 10:36 a.m. (May 24):

A woman who lives on the street where a Fairmont High School student was fatally shot Sept. 4 today described hearing what sounded like s gunshot that night.

Colleen Mallory of Willowdale Avenue testified she called 911 shortly after seeing a girl running from a car driven by Ronnie Bowers.

Mallory said she went out to the street and called 911 after hearing a "boom and a bang."

"It was very quick," she said.

Mallory said she later went to the drivers side of the car, saw blood and glass on Bowers, and touched his neck to check for a pulse.


A hearing is scheduled today that will decide if a 17-year-old will be tried as an adult on murder and other charges in the death of a Kettering Fairmont High School student.

RELATED: Dispute involving teens ends with fatal shooting outside AlterFest

Prosecutors are seeking to try Kylen Jamal Gregory as an adult in the Sept. 4 shooting death of Ronnie Bowers.

RELATED: 12 listed to testify in fatal Kettering shooting of Fairmont teen

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