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Driver in crash that blocked I-70 used fentanyl earlier, patrol says

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017 @ 4:48 PM

I70 West at Diamond Mill Overpass crash

A driver involved in a two-vehicle crash that shut down the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Clayton for nearly two hours Thursday night admitted to using fentanyl earlier in the evening, troopers said.

It is the latest traffic accident involving a driver allegedly impaired by opioids.

The driver, identified as Jeremy Hembree, 32, was booked into Montgomery County Jail after the crash.

Troopers said a suspected drug found at the scene will be sent to the crime lab for testing.

RELATED: Drug use passes drinking in fatal crashes

Hembree, who is from New Paris, will be charged with OVI and possession of drugs, troopers said. Hembree was driving with a suspended license.

Drug-impaired driving has for the first time surpassed drunk-driving as the leading factor in fatal crashes, according to a report issued earlier this year by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

About 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, the report said, surpassing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to the report.

RELATED: Driving while high: Drugs are possible factors in more recent crashes

Drugged driving crashes in Ohio increased 25 percent from 2012 through 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. There were 3,574 drugged driving crashes in 2016, which accounted for about 33 percent of all impaired driving crashes, according to state crash statistics.

Recent incidents locally include:

  • Jordan Harville, 25, of Clayton pleaded guilty on Aug. 4 to three felony counts Miami County Common Pleas Court in the death of Anthony Hufford, 28, of Englewood. Harville struck Hufford’s vehicle on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. during a pursuit that began in Miami County. Authorities said Harville told them he had used heroin.
  • In March a driver overdosed and crashed into a tree line along southbound Interstate 75 south of Ohio 725 in Miami Twp. He was revived with Narcan.
  • Also in March, police revived another driver with Narcan after a his vehicle crashed into a wall on Interstate 75 near Tipp City.

RELATED: Clayton man pleads guilty in pursuit crash that killed Englewood man

Sgt. Matt Robinson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton post said Thursday’s accident, which happened around 7:40 p.m. just before the Ohio 49 Greenville exit, involved a gold Chrysler Town and Country minivan and another vehicle.

“It looks like one of the drivers is impaired on drugs,” Robinson said. “He was not injured and was driving the minivan.”

The minivan driver “did admit to narcotics use prior in the evening,” the sergeant said.

Robinson also said contraband was found in the car and that the drug “appears to be an opiate of some kind.”

The driver of the other vehicle was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, Robinson said.

A witness, Kevin Crank of Richmond, said he was helping people in a disabled vehicle off to the shoulder on I-70 when the gold minivan moved past him at high speed. Traffic up ahead was slowing because of a construction zone, Crank said.

RELATED: Overdoses force coroner to use funeral home to store bodies

He said the minivan hit the other vehicle “full force, about 75 to 80 miles an hour.”

Crank said he ran to the accident and helped the driver of the vehicle that had been hit. The man had some cuts, but seemed OK, Crank said.

“The impact… sounded like a bomb going off… It was the worst sound I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Crank said he is glad he was in a position to help.

“And I’m thankful that guy (whose vehicle was struck) is alive,” he said.

RELATED: Opioid reversal drugs being used as precaution at crash scenes

Staff reporterChris Stewart contributed to this report.

COMING SUNDAY

Overdose deaths in Montgomery County took a significant dip in July for the first time this year. On Sunday reporter Lynn Hulsey takes a look at local initiatives attacking drug addiction.

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Clark County man subject of missing endangered alert

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 7:27 PM

A missing endangered alert has been issued for a 66-year-old Moorefield Twp. man.

Clark Pizner was last seen around 4 p.m. driving from his residence in a yellow 2002 Jeep Wrangler with a black hard top and brass duck head on the hood with Ohio plate FGG9716, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

He stands 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds with blue eyes and brown/gray hair. He was last seen wearing a tan polo shirt, black jersey sweatpants and gray tennis shoes. He wears glasses and has a gray mustache.

He is possibly in need of medical attention, according to the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with information on Pizner’s whereabouts or who spots him is urged to call 911 or the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 937-328-2560.

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Downtown Springfield pizzeria closing

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

Bada Bing Pizzeria owner Jason Hague serves the staff of The Salvation Army a Red Kettle pizza.  The Red Kettle pizza is a special pizza that will be available during National Salvation Army week.  JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Jeff Guerini
Bada Bing Pizzeria owner Jason Hague serves the staff of The Salvation Army a Red Kettle pizza. The Red Kettle pizza is a special pizza that will be available during National Salvation Army week. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF(Jeff Guerini)

PHOTOS: Bada Bing Pizzeria

Bada Bing Pizzeria in Springfield will close on Sunday, according to a post on the business’ Facebook page. 

The post reads in part, “Thank you all for your support over the last few years. We have been blessed beyond measure. What’s next? Stay tuned.”

The restaurant is located at 40 N. Fountain Ave.

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Tipster leads California authorities to felon’s stash of 553 guns, police say

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:31 PM

Police – Stash of 553 Guns Found Thanks to Tipster

A tip called in to Los Angeles County authorities led investigators to seize a total of 553 guns from a convicted felon last week, officials said.

Manuel Fernandez, 60, of Agua Dulce, was arrested Thursday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of an assault rifle, being a felon in possession of ammunition and possession of large-capacity magazines, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials. He was released on bond the following day.

Sheriff’s Department officials said in a news release Monday that deputies at the department’s Palmdale station received a tip about a felon in possession of a “large arsenal of firearms.” Detectives, along with agents from the California Department of Justice, obtained a search warrant for Fernandez’s home in Agua Dulce. 

Agua Dulce is located about 20 miles northeast of Santa Clarita, near Angeles National Forest. 

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Investigators found a total of 432 guns during the execution of the first search warrant at Fernandez’s home, the news release said. That search led them to a second home in Agua Dulce connected to Fernandez.

A total of 30 guns were found at that home, which belongs to a woman described by authorities as a female associate of Fernandez’s. The woman, who was not home Monday and has not returned since the search, is expected to face charges.

A second warrant served at Fernandez’s home led investigators to find another 91 weapons hidden in the house, the news release said. 

“Detectives also seized computers, cellphones and hard drives from the residence believed to be involved in the illicit purchase of firearms by the suspect,” the news release said

A photo released by the Sheriff’s Department shows rifles and other weapons piled into the bed of a Ford F-150 pickup truck. Other pictures show the massive cache of weapons laid out on a patio at the station.  

Pictured are some of the weapons seized after Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials received a tip about a convicted felon in possession of a large arsenal of weapons. Manuel Fernandez, 60, of Agua Dulce, was arrested on multiple weapons charges Thursday, June 14, 2018.(Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

The number of weapons seized was so large that investigators brought in agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to assist in tracing the purchase history of the guns, authorities said. 

“This case is a testament to the community’s involvement in reducing crime and taking guns out of the hands of criminals,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement.

McDonnell said the response by his personnel, as well as state and federal officials, shows the positive result of the Sheriff’s Department’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

“We are proud of the relationship we have built in the Antelope Valley area as we continue to build trust with the communities we serve,” the sheriff said

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UPDATE: Brock Turner headed back to court next month

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 7:12 AM
Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

Brock Turner returned to Ohio and lives in Greene County, where he is a Level III sex offender. GREENE COUNTY SHERIFF / CONTRIBUTED
Brock Turner returned to Ohio and lives in Greene County, where he is a Level III sex offender. GREENE COUNTY SHERIFF / CONTRIBUTED

UPDATE @ 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19

Oral arguments in Brock Turner’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction will be held next month, according to court documents.  

The Oakwood High School graduate and registered sexual offender’s appeal will be heard July 24 in San Jose, California.

UPDATE @ 10 a.m., Monday, May 21

Brock Turner’s attorney has asked the court to reschedule oral arguments in his appeal case, according to a court docket. A new date has not yet been scheduled.

ORIGINAL STORY

Oral arguments in Brock Turner’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction are scheduled for next month, according to a California appellate court spokesman.

The Oakwood High School graduate and registered sexual offender’s appeal will be heard by a panel of three justices from California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal. Turner’s counsel and the state’s attorney will present arguments and answer questions during the June 28 hearing in San Jose, California.

MORE: Brock Turner case: What led to Stanford assault?

The justices will then deliberate and later issue an opinion, said Cathal Conneely, the court’s spokesman.

The scheduling comes as Turner’s legal team drops several claims that would have allowed a re-trial or a re-sentencing on one or more counts, according to a court document filed by Turner’s attorney, Eric Multhaup.

The decision to withdraw a handful of the claims, Multhaup wrote, “was reached in large part out of consideration for appellant’s (Turner’s) family and out of consideration for Jane Doe and her family.”

Doe is the unidentified victim in the 2015 sexual assault at Stanford University. The 2016 case — and Turner’s sentence — sparked a nationwide controversy and wide-ranging discussions about sexual assaults on college campuses.

MORE: Brock Turner’s classmates describe Oakwood party culture

A jury found Turner guilty on three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. Turner was sentenced by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky to six months in jail, but served three months of the sentence.

Turner returned to Ohio and lives in Greene County, where he is a Level III sex offender — Ohio’s most-strict classification.

In a court filing earlier this year, the state’s attorney argued there was “substantial evidence from which a rational jury could find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of all three charges.”

Turner’s attorney declined comment. Doe’s family friend, Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, also declined comment.

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