WSU grad, Centerville football coach killed in crash

Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 @ 3:22 PM
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 10:43 AM
By: Drew Simon -

An assistant coach for the Centerville Elks High School football team was killed in a crash on Interstate 70 that closed a portion of the highway for more than three hours Sunday morning.

Francois Hagenimana, 24, an alumnus of Centerville High School and a resident of Kettering, was driving west in the eastbound lanes on I-70 in a Toyota Scion when his vehicle collided head-on with a Honda Accord driven by Jason Fricke, 28, of Westerville around 3:09 a.m., according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Neither driver had passengers.

"At this point in time the investigation does look like we did have somebody that was going the wrong way," said Lt. Matthew Cleaveland of the state patrol.

Several 911 calls were received before the crash from drivers reporting a wrong-way driver on the interstate, Cleaveland said.

It was unknown at press time whether alcohol or speed were factors in the crash.

Hagenimana was in his first year as an assistant coach with the Elks and had recently enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He wanted to become a Navy SEAL.

Hagenimana attended Ashland University, where he played corner and safety. He graduated in 2012.

Fricke is a 2010 engineering graduate of Wright State University. He was on I-70 returning to Westerville after visiting friends in the Dayton area, his friends told News Center 7.

Friends also said Fricke was a great friend and "was the kind of guy that would give the last dollar in his pocket and the shirt off his back just so he could bring happiness to someone else."

The speed limit on the stretch of I-70 was increased to 70 miles per hour in July. The change has not resulted in an influx in crashes along the interstate, but the State Highway Patrol will review a long-term study of crashes over time as the speed limits continue to change across the state, Cleaveland sad.

Under a new law, going into effect today, any roads designated as rural divided highways will now have a speed limit of 60 mph while rural expressways without traffic signals will have a speed limit of 65 mph. Rural freeways across the state will move to a speed limit of 70 mph.

"You can only imagine both vehicles going around the speed limit of 70 mph and when you get a head-on crash with those kind of speeds it's usually pretty bad," Cleaveland said.

After the initial impact, each vehicle veered right, sending one car into the wire barricade and the second into a grassy embankment. Both vehicles were heavily damaged in the wreck.

Valerie Carson, of the Cleveland area, was returning home from Kansas City, where her family had attended a funeral over the weekend. She was devastated to see the destruction.

"It just hurt me so bad, because I could only imagine that that person was either going home or maybe leaving home and may have said goodbye to a family member," Carson said. "Who knows that when you say goodbye, it could be the last time you say goodbye."

Carson, along with dozens of other drivers, sat in their vehicles on the highway while officials cleaned up the crash.

The Ohio Department of Transportation was summoned to the scene to place lighted arrow boards directing drivers off east I-70 at the U.S. 40 exit.

The highway was reopened to drivers just before 7 a.m.

Flames consume vacant Dayton house

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 10:58 PM
By: Breaking News Staff

            Flames consume vacant Dayton house
Dayton firefighters were called Saturday night, Oct. 22, 2016, to a vacant house on fire. (DeAngelo Byrd/Staff)

Crews were called tonight to a report of a house fire.

The blaze was reported around 10:10 p.m. on South McGee Street between East Third and Fourth streets. One witness said he could see flames shooting several feet in the air from the roof of the house, which had boards over its windows.

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Boy with Down syndrome scores touchdown

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 10:03 PM
Published: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 8:58 PM

            Boy with Down syndrome scores touchdown
Grant Pearson, the honorary team captain for the Waynesville Middle School Spartans who also has Down syndrom, scored a 50-yard touchdown for his team Saturday. (Photo: Screengrab via WHIO)

Sixth-grader Grant Pearson didn’t expect to take the field, much less score a touchdown.

The honorary football team captain for the Waynesville Middle School Spartans wears a jersey and goes to all the home and away games. It was no different for the game on Saturday against Bellbrook Middle School. That is, until Grant was sent onto the gridiron after the first quarter. He received the ball around the 50-yard-line and took it all the way to the end zone.

“Did you see how fast he was? He took off,” coach Tim Sizer said. “I think he outran all his blockers. It was beautiful. We’re so happy that he did it.”

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It’s no secret that Grant, who has Down syndrome, is “a fanatic about sports,” as his father, Jim Pearson said. “And to see him out here with his friends and running down the field … it’s just heartwarming."

Wayne Local Schools earlier in the week reached out to Bellbrook about giving Grant a field experience, to which it readily agreed, Sizer said.

“It was about more than just a football game,” the coach said.

The Saturday football game also happens to fall in the middle of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

“He was having the time of his life,” said his mother, Janet Pearson. “It was just a thrill for him to do that. That was really cool.”

OVI checkpoint underway in Dayton

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 9:58 PM
By: Breaking News Staff

The Montgomery County OVI Task Force announced that an OVI checkpoint was set to begin at 9 p.m. tonight in the area of North Gettysburg Avenue and Kings Highway.

OVI checkpoints, funded by federal grant funds, are used deter and intercept impaired drivers.

Dayton officers will also conduct saturation patrols in conjunction with the announced checkpoint.

Police advise if you plan to consume alcohol, designate a driver or make other travel arrangements before drinking.

Preble County man on lam for 3 years in meth case back in jail

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 9:07 PM
By: Breaking News Staff

            Preble County man on lam for 3 years in meth case back in jail
Ronald Dean Risner (Preble County Jail)

A Preble County man on the lam for nearly three years will be back in court Tuesday in connection to a December 2012 meth bust.

Ronald Dean Risner, 52, was arrested Thursday by the Preble County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the sheriff’s office posted on its Facebook page.

There was a $5,000 reward offered for Risner’s capture by Preble County Prosecutor Marty Vogel, but it’s not clear whether it will be paid.

Risner had been at large since at least Jan. 21, 2014, when he didn’t show up for court to finalize a plea deal after his Jan. 13, 2014, jury trial was set aside, online court records show.

He had been indicted for illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, aggravated possession of drugs, having weapons following a felony conviction and drug paraphernalia offenses. The case against him stemmed from a methamphetamine operation uncovered at his home in the 700 block of Oxford Germantown Road in Somers Twp., between Oxford and Camden near the border between Butler and Preble counties.

Detectives raided the property Dec. 17, 2012, and found chemicals and equipment used to make meth, including anhydrous ammonia, pseudoephedrine and solvents, as well as cash, numerous firearms and finished meth, according to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies raided the same home in April 2006 while investigating a meth operation, according to the sheriff’s office. In that case, Risner was sentenced to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to reduced charges, online court records show.