Ohio officer overdoses after accidental contact with fentanyl on traffic stop

Published: Monday, May 15, 2017 @ 1:59 AM

Officer overdoses after simply touching fentanyl

An eastern Ohio officer was revived with four doses of Narcan after he accidentally came into contact with fentanyl during a traffic stop and overdosed.

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Patrolman Chris Green of the East Liverpool Police Department responded to a traffic stop Friday evening, after officers blocked in a vehicle they believed was involved in a drug transaction, according to CBS affiliate WKBN-TV in Youngstown. 

“We think they were trying to flee, but they were blocked in,” East Liverpool Capt. Patrick Wright told the station. “Once they got blocked in, they tried to dispose of the evidence in the vehicle.” 

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“There was white powder on the seat, on the floor, on the guys’ shoes and on his clothing.”

Police arrested both the driver and passenger in the vehicle, identified as 25-year-old Justin Buckle, of East Liverpool, and 24-year-old Cortez Collins, of Cleveland, and searched the vehicle.

WKBN-TV reports after Green conducted the search and returned to the police station, a fellow officer noticed Green had white powder on his shirt. 

“Just out of instinct, he tried to brush is off — not thinking,” Wright said.

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An hour later, Green passed out in the police station, suffering from a suspected overdose from the white powder, which police believe was fentanyl. Police said fentanyl can enter the body simply through contact with the skin. 

“They called an ambulance for [Green] and the ambulance responded for him,” Wright said. “They gave him one dose of Narcan here and then transported him to East Liverpool City Hospital, where they gave him three additional doses of Narcan.”

Wright told the station Green was “fine” as of Sunday. 

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Wright added the incident is an example of how the drug epidemic has forced officers to change the aspects of their jobs.

“We changed our procedures to where we used to field-test drugs,” Wright said. “We don’t do that any longer because of accidental exposures.”

The suspects, Buckle and Collins, have been charged with tampering with evidence. 

East Liverpool, Ohio is located on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and is about 40 miles south of Youngstown.


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Ohio AG offers consumer tips ahead of Black Friday shopping

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:50 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:50 PM


Attorney General Mike DeWine is offering Ohio consumers some tips ahead of the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

The Republican has several pointers for shoppers.

He says sellers must clearly inform customers of “no return” policies before a purchase is completed.

The attorney general says ads for holiday sales should clearly disclose important exclusions or limitations, such as limited quantities, restricted sale hours and “no rain checks.”

He also says gift cards that can be redeemed more broadly may depreciate in value quicker than those tied to a single store.

And DeWine advises that paying with a credit card usually offers greater protection, such as limits on your responsibility for unauthorized charges and the ability to dispute charges.

State to target high-crash Ohio roads with 70 mph limits

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:41 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:41 PM

            Dan Knoop, of the Ohio Department of Transportation, changes the speed limit signs along Interstate 70 in Clark County to 70 miles per hour Monday, July 1, 2013. Interstate 70 through Clark County is one of the areas in the state that has increased the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph effective July 1. Bill Lackey/Staff
Dan Knoop, of the Ohio Department of Transportation, changes the speed limit signs along Interstate 70 in Clark County to 70 miles per hour Monday, July 1, 2013. Interstate 70 through Clark County is one of the areas in the state that has increased the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph effective July 1. Bill Lackey/Staff

The state will target high-crash Ohio roads that have 70 mph limits following a report that found a sharp increase in accidents after Ohio raised the limit from 65 mph.

The analysis of those efforts could lead to a temporary reduction of the limit back to 65 mph in selected areas, according to the State Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation.

A patrol report released last week found a 24 percent increase in crashes on 70 mph roads, including 22 percent more fatal and injury crashes following the change to the higher speed limit in 2013.

The state will use overtime to increase the number of troopers working in three high-crash areas and will launch a $100,000 ad campaign urging drivers to slow down.

“Stop Speeding Before It Stops You” and “Obey The Sign Or Pay The Fine” are among the messages the campaign will promote, according to the state public safety and transportation departments.

Troopers will focus on stretches of I-70 in Licking County east of Columbus, I-71 in Ashland County in northern Ohio and U.S. 33 in Union County northwest of Columbus.

Officers will watch for aggressive driving, including following too closely and improper passing; speeding; safety belt violations; distracted driving; and driving while impaired.

“Roadway safety is a shared responsibility,” said patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers.

If those efforts don’t reduce accidents, the patrol may seek permission from Republican Gov. John Kasich for a temporary reduction to 65 mph in those areas.

At some point, the patrol may also test a reduction to 65 mph in a fourth area.

The Ohio Insurance Institute, which opposed the increase to 70 mph, welcomed the patrol’s proposals.

“There is an obvious correlation between the rise of Ohio crashes and the 70 mph speed limit increase,” said institute president Dean Fadel.

Last year in Wisconsin, a report found that fatalities, injuries and accidents were up since the state raised the speed limit to 70 mph on most interstate highways in 2015.

“When speed limits go up, crashes and deaths on those roads increase, and when speed limits are reduced, crashes and deaths decrease,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Ohio insurance agent Tony Schroeder questions the impact of the 5 mph increase on crashes, and says he considers distractions from electronic devices “a far more significant threat.” He says he drives 5-7 mph on either side of posted limits, but usually above.

Schroeder, 52, who lives in rural Putnam County, says how fast you go depends on where you live.

“The vast land area of Ohio is very rural — you may encounter a handful of vehicles when you’re making a half-hour drive,” he said. “I think the higher limit makes a lot of sense, and in almost every circumstance.”

Ohio lawmaker wants to limit child marriage

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 7:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:39 PM

            Ohio lawmaker wants to limit child marriage
Ohio lawmaker wants to limit child marriage

Efforts to reform Ohio’s child marriage laws, which currently allow children of any age to marry if they obtain parental and judicial consent, could get tangled up in politics over gay marriage, lawmakers say.

A Dayton Daily News investigation detailed more than 4,400 girls under 18 married in Ohio over the past 15 years, including 59 girls who were 15 or younger. State law sets the marriage age without judicial consent at 16 for girls and 18 for males.

State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, plans to introduce a bill in early December to address Ohio’s laws that allow children of any age to marry as long as they have parental and judicial consent.

Rezabek wants to steer clear of efforts to remove a provision in state law that prohibits same-sex marriage. He said he believes legislation solely focused on underage marriage has a better chance of passing.

Related: At 14, Ohio woman married 48-year-old man

Related: Should children be allowed to marry? In Ohio, thousands do

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, introduced Senate Bill 198 that would raise the marriage age to 18 for both the bride and groom, allow marriage for 16 and 17-year-olds who obtain judicial and parental consent, and ban marriage for anyone under 16.

Yuko’s bill also removes the same-sex marriage ban language. The bill, introduced in September, has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Related: Newspaper series leads to Ohio Senate bill on child marriage

Related: Ohio lawmakers say they’ll consider changes to Ohio child marriage laws

Grant Stancliff, spokesman for EqualityOhio, said the gay rights group would eventually like the anti-same-sex marriage language wiped out at some point. “It’d be nice to have that language removed but it’s not something we’re putting a lot of effort behind because de facto, LGBTQ people are getting married in Ohio,” he said.

A 5-4 landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015 invalidated a ban against same-sex marriage approved by Ohio voters in 2004 and made gay marriage legal nationwide.

Related: U.S. Supreme Court rules to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide

National groups that advocate for an ending underage marriage say Ohio needs to outlaw any marriage before age 18. Jeanne Smoot, senior counsel for Tahirih Justice Center, said half-measures won’t meaningfully change the status quo.

“Just setting an age floor of 16, for example, will not protect the majority of minors who are married at 16 and 17, and keeping in place a bare-bones judicial approval process will continue to make it easy for the abuse and exploitation of children to slip by undetected,” she said.

By the numbers

248,000: Number of teens 17 or younger married in America between 2000 and 2010.

4,443: Number of girls 17 or younger who were married in Ohio between 2000 and 2015.

301: Number of boys 17 or younger married during that time span.

80: Percentage of marriages involving young teens that end in divorce, according to a national study.

Sources: Ohio Department of Health, Unchained at Last

Supreme Court to hear arguments on Ohio voter purge

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

By Jack Torry { Washington Bureau

The U.S. Supreme Court has re-scheduled oral arguments on Jan. 10 on whether Ohio officials violated federal law when they removed tens of thousands of people from the voting rolls simply because they had not cast ballots in recent elections.

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati in 2016 struck down Ohio’s purge of the voter rolls. The justices originally were scheduled to hear oral arguments earlier this month, but delayed them because one of the attorneys was on medical leave.

The justices will have to determine whether Ohio devised a system aimed at circumventing federal law by striking voters — many of them low-income — from the rolls simply because they hadn’t voted.

But the American Civil Liberties Union has argued that “every eligible voter has the constitutional right not to cast a vote — and the mere exercise of that right should not be the basis for removal from the voter rolls.”