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Ohio man charged in crash into Charlottesville crowd; 3 dead, 35 hurt

Published: Saturday, August 12, 2017 @ 5:00 PM
Updated: Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 12:30 AM

Ohio man charged with plowing car into Virginia rally crowd

An Ohio man is accused of driving into a crowd of people, killing a 32-year-old Virginia woman and injuring 35 others.

  • Suspect identified as James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee
  • Fields faces second-degree murder, other charges
  • Woman killed is Heather Heyer of Virginia
  • 2 troopers die in helicopter crash linked to incident

UPDATE @ 12:30 a.m. (Aug. 13)

A woman who identified herself as the mother of James Alex Fields Jr. said she was aware her son was headed to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

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Samantha Bloom said her son sent a text message last week that he had time off work and was going to the rally. Bloom told her son “to be careful” and peaceful, she said.

She and Fields had just moved to the Toledo area from Florence, Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati, she said.

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Fields is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit and run attended failure to stop with injury, the Charlottesville Police Department announced Saturday. He is being held in the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail for the deadly crash at Fourth and Water streets in the city that claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Hayer and injured 35 others.

RELATED: 3 dead, 35 injured after ‘Unite the Right’ rally sparks violence in Charlottesville

On Saturday, Virginia State Police also connected the deaths of two troopers who died in a helicopter crash to the rally. Police said Lt. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates were killed in the crash that happened outside Charlottesville a few hours after the car plowed into the group of people.

The organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville told the Associated Press that the man who drove into the group of counter-protesters “did the wrong thing.” He also criticized law enforcement’s response to the event and its ability to control chaos to allow free speech.

UPDATE @ 9:10 p.m.

A 20-year-old Ohio man is identified as the suspect who rammed a car into a crowd of people Saturday afternoon as they dispersed in Charlottesville.

The suspect is James Alex Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer with the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail, CNN reported. Fields is held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, CNN reported.

A 32-year-old woman who was crossing the street was killed and 19 people were injured, the Associated Press confirmed with hospital officials.

The car allegedly driven by Fields around 2 p.m. plowed into the crowd of counter-protesters of the “Unite the Right” rally, which opposed the state’s decision to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Ohio plates on car that plowed Virginia crowd

FIRST REPORT

A car that plowed into a group of people Saturday afternoon after crowds dispersed in Charlottesville has Ohio plates.

One person was killed and 19 injured when the car that appears to be a gray Dodge Challenger with Ohio plates crashed into a crowd of protesters leaving a “Unite the Right” rally. Officials declared the rally an “unlawful assembly” and shut it down before it began because of clashes between protesters and counter-protesters.

Rescue personnel help injured people after a car ran into a large group of protesters after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The rally was to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(AP)

The driver, whose name has not been released, is in custody, according to state officials.

The Ohio license plate shows a county code of 48 in the bottom left; this corresponds to Lucas County in northwest Ohio, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Toledo is the largest city in the county, which has a border with Lake Erie.

The protest was sparked by the state’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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Family confronts Dayton police during man’s arrest, prompts ‘Signal 99’ call for assistance

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 6:42 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 2:07 AM

Signal 99 issued in Dayton, indicating officer needs assistance

UPDATE @ 9:35 p.m.

A 23-year-old Dayton man is jailed on felony drug and weapons charges.

Jason M. Herron is in the Montgomery County Jail following his arrest at 7:30 p.m. in the 200 block of West Parkwood Drive. He was booked on suspicion of carrying concealed weapons, having weapons under disability and drug possession, all felonies, in addition to a misdemeanor drug possession charge, online jail records show.

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Jason M. Herron(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Dayton Municipal Court.

UPDATE @ 7:25 p.m.

Family members confronting police officers after they took an armed man to the ground during an arrest prompted a “Signal 99” call for officers in need of urgent assistance.

The incident began when officers tried make a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled, Dayton police Sgt. Ryan Halburnt said.

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Shortly afterward, they found the vehicle but its passenger, a man in his 20s, had bailed on foot, the sergeant said.

“(Police) started canvassing the neighborhood looking for the suspect that had run from the traffic stop and found the gentleman walking down the 200 block of West Parkwood Avenue. Officers made contact with him and he began to actively resist the police, which forced them to go to the ground,” he said.

Officers found a loaded firearm in the suspect’s waistband and a large amount of drugs in his pocket, Halburnt said.

“As the officers were arresting him the family members, which were a few houses away, saw what was happening and came out to confront the officer, which elicited the ‘Signal 99’ officer needs assistance,” Halburnt said.

It is not clear whether the driver was arrested.

UPDATE @ 6:45 p.m.

A fleeing suspect led police to issue a “Signal 99” for an officer in need of urgent assistance.

Backup arrived quickly, but it was not clear what led a suspect to flee.

 It is unclear if the suspect is in custody.

FIRST REPORT

Police issued a “Signal 99” this evening for officers in need of assistance.

The call for urgent help came shortly before 6:30 p.m. to the 200 block of West Parkwood Drive in Dayton.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report as we learn information.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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Body cam video: Englewood officer comforts child left behind after pursuit

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:45 PM

Officer comforts child left behind during pursuit

An Englewood police officer stopped chasing two suspects to comfort a young boy in the middle of a police chase.

Police said the boy’s grandmother and aunt left him behind July 10 as they tried to escape.

Chases are dangerous for everyone involved, but it’s not very often to see the human side of the decisions made in these tense moments — decisions like the one officer Julie Brownfield made when she stopped chasing the suspects to care for a scared boy, which was captured by her body camera. 

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RELATED: Shoplifting suspects with child arrested after high-speed chase in Englewood

The chase reached speeds in excess of 75 mph as an officer pursued two women down Hoke Road last week who were accused of shoplifting from an Englewood Walmart store. The Hyundai Tuscon crashed into some weeds following the 90-second chase. 

Two women in the SUV get out and take off on foot. 

“The officer’s natural instinct, typically, is to pursue the suspect,” Engewood police Sgt. Corey Follick said. 

But that’s not what happened. 

Brownfield, a veteran officer of nearly two decades, is about to chase after the women, until she sees a young boy in the vehicle. 

“Come here, sweetie,” she said to him. 

“I’m not pursuing. They left the child behind. I’m with the child,” she told dispatchers. 

The 7-year-old boy was in the vehicle during the chase, and was left behind by his grandmother and aunt. 

“You OK sweetheart, are you hurt?” the officer asks the child while she tries to comfort him. “It’s OK baby OK?” 

Follick, who is Brownfield’s supervisor, said his officer did the right thing. 

“The video speaks for itself, as you can see, she’s very compassionate with the child, probably being a mother herself, that motherly instinct kicked in,” he said. “Even though most police officers’ instinct is to do whatever they need to do to catch the bad guy — bad gals in this situation — this child’s welfare was more important than apprehending the suspects immediately.”

A short time later, other officers were able to catch up with the women using information relayed by Brownfield. 

Officers took the child’s grandmother, 43-year-old Diona Murray, into custody. Murray’s juvenile daughter, the boy’s aunt, also is facing charges, according to a police report. 

Diona Murray(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

Follick said navigating that entire situation wasn’t easy. 

“She has to de-escalate that situation and calm herself down and then also the child that was involved in this incident, and still she was able to communicate to other officers the suspects’ physical description and which direction they ran,” he said. 

The boy was returned safely to his mother in Trotwood. 

As far as his grandmother, Murray is still behind bars at the Montgomery County Jail, where she is being held on $50,000 bond on suspicion of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, online jail records show.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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Ohio AG sues Kelly Heating and Air for second time

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 8:59 PM

Ohio AG files 2nd consumer protection lawsuit against Kelly Heating and Air

The Ohio Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning for the second time.

AG Mike DeWine said the business, owned by Daniel W. Wells, took money for services never provided.

The last known address for the company — 7616 N. Main St. — is in Clayton where police are getting calls from angry customers.

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Others are trying to track him down there because the business address is still listed online.

One woman who lives on North Main Street by the business said angry people are showing up on her front porch. She even posted a sign on her door.

News Center 7’s Lauren Clark reached Wells by telephone, and asked how customers could contact him. 

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“They can call this number,” he said. “I don’t know why the lady in the house up front is doing what she’s doing. She’s causing all kinds of problems and making all kinds of false allegations about people coming by there.” 

The phone number listed online is 937-469-3889.

This is not the first time Kelly Heating and Air was sued by DeWine. In 2016, a consumer protection lawsuit was filed that alleged shoddy work.

>> Family confronts Dayton police officer during suspect’s arrest, prompt ‘Signal 99’ for officer assistance 

Among allegations in the second consumer protection lawsuit filed last month is that Wells took money for services he never provided. 

“We’re taking this action to protect consumers. We think people should know about the repeated problems customers have had with this operator,” DeWine stated in a release. 

Wells said he is no longer operating as a business.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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Police: Man pays for pizza with fake $50 bill; gives driver $1 tip

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Experts explain how to tell the difference between fake and real money
Experts explain how to tell the difference between fake and real money

A Hamilton man was charged with petty theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, and failure to appear on a $2,500 warrant after he allegedly paid for pizza with a fake $50 bill, Middletown police said.

MORE: Police receiving tips, have leads in fatal Middletown shooting

Daniel Gabbard, 24, also had a warrant out of Butler County for larceny and out of Trenton for drug abuse, according to a police report.

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Middletown police were called to Domino’s Pizza, 606 N. University Blvd., at 10 p.m. Friday on a report of a counterfeit $50 bill.

The manager told police she received an order for three large Hawaiian pizzas and one medium pizza and was told to deliver them to an address on South Broad Street.

The driver was met by a man near the address and told he ordered the pizzas. Another man showed up a few minutes later and paid for the pizzas, the report read. The bill was $33, and after giving $17 in change, and the driver was given a $1 tip. That’s when the driver realized the money allegedly was counterfeit. By that time, the subjects had run away, the report read.

MORE: Teen driver in fatal prom crash previously cited for driving without a license

When police arrived at the house where the subjects were seen running, they spotted two men in the back yard. One subject ran away, the other ran into the house, according to the report. Police said they saw one subject hiding in the kitchen. When a female answered the door, she allowed officers inside.

Police said they saw several Domino’s Pizza boxes and the sticker on a box had a South Broad Street address.

Gabbard at first denied the allegations, but then told officers a friend gave him a fake $50 bill that he used to pay for the pizzas, according to the report. He said he knew the bill was counterfeit and he told officers he used another counterfeit $50 bill earlier in the day at a local Auto Zone store.

Gabbard failed to appear Monday morning for his hearing in Middletown Municipal Court, according to court records.

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