Jury to view house where Hamilton firefighter died in fire

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 10:47 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 11:18 AM


            William “Billy” Tucker is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
William “Billy” Tucker is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Jurors will view the Pater Avenue residence where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died in 2015 during the trial next month for the two men charged in connection with the fatal arson fire.

Last month the defense attorney for William “Billy” Tucker filed a motion for a jury view.

Tucker, 46, of Richmond, Ky., is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Wolterman died.

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EXCLUSIVE: Burglar alarm sent police to Hamilton home where firefighter died

The uncle, 66-year-old Lester Parker, who is the home’s owner, is facing the same charges.

Prosecutors say Parker solicited Tucker to light the fire. Parker and his wife were in Las Vegas when the fire broke out during the early morning hours.

In the motion, defense attorney Tamara Sack indicated there may be a witness who can place Tucker near the scene before the fire.

CLOSER LOOK: Why 2 men charged in firefighter’s death aren’t in Butler County Jail

In the motion, Sack said jury view of the scene is material to facts of the indictment specifically “regarding the location of the fire … leading to Grand Avenue at the location where the State’s witness alleges the defendant (Tucker) left the vehicle and headed on foot to the 1310 Pater Ave. location.”

During a hearing Wednesday, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the state did not oppose the jury viewing the scene.

MORE: Attempt to move Hamilton firefighter death trial fails

A three-week trial for both Tucker and Parker is scheduled to begin Nov. 6 in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Both men have court-appointed attorneys.

Wolterman died when he fell through the home’s first floor while fighting the blaze on Dec. 28, 2015.

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Showers and storms continue through the weekend

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 4:54 AM

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist Jesse Maag

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST:

  • More showers and storms expected
  • Mornings should start out dry
  • Cooler temperatures to hold for the weekend

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>>Mars visible in the night sky

Today: Showers and storms are expected to pop up in the afternoon and into the evening hours. Temperatures will hold in the upper 70s.

Tonight: A few lingering showers will gradually die off throughout the night. Lows dipping into the mid to upper 60’s.

>>LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans

Sunday: Much of the area will be dry in the morning, but more showers and storms will develop during the afternoon hours. Highs will hold in the upper 70s.

Monday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds in the morning with a chance for mainly showers in the afternoon and early evening. Highs will top off near 80.

Tuesday: Partly sunny skies are in the forecast with a chance for a pop-up shower or storm, mainly in the afternoon. Temperatures will rebound back into the low to middle 80s.

>>County-by-county weather

Wednesday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds with a slight chance for a pop-up storm. It will be warm with highs in the middle 80s.

The chance for rain sticks around this weekend and even lasts into the middle of the work week.

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9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 5:02 PM
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 1:50 AM

Multiple Dead In Duck Boat Accident On Missouri's Table Rock Lake

A duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, Thursday night killed 17 people, including the boat’s driver and nine members of an Indiana family, and injured 14, according to authorities.

>> Read more trending news 

Update 1:30 a.m. EDT July 21: Authorities have identified more victims in the duck boat accident.

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Steve Smith and his teenage son, Lance Smith, from Osceola, Arkansas, were among those killed in the crash.

Steve Smith was a pastor and Lance Smith was preparing to open his own church in less than a week, according to CNN, first reported by The Christian Chronicle

Steve Smith’s daughter, Loren Smith, suffered a concussion during the accident but survived.

Smith’s wife, Pam Smith, opted to stay behind and was not on the boat.

William and Janice Bright from Higginsville, Missouri, near Kansas City, were also identified as victims in the crash.

WDAF reports that the couple had three children, 16 grandchildren and had been married for 45 years.

“My great nieces and nephews now have no grandparents,” Karen Abbott, William Bright’s sister, told WDAF.

Update 11:00 p.m. EDT July 20: A summer vacation ended in tragedy for nine members of an Indiana family, along with eight other tourists, killed when a duck boat capsized Thursday evening on a lake in Branson, Missouri.

The Coleman family had traveled to Branson for their annual road trip, according to The New York Times, which interviewed Carolyn Coleman.

Coleman said she lost two of her brothers-in-law and that three generations of the family died in the accident, including four young children, the Times reported.

“We just lost some wonderful people,” she said.

The Indianapolis Star reported that the four children killed in the accident were all under the age of 10.

"They were very loved," Ingrid Coleman Douglas said in a telephone interview with the Star.

Coleman Douglas said the victims included two of her uncles, cousins and their children.

"It’s a huge family on all sides. It’s unimaginable. I would never have thought I would have lost this number of people this way," she said.

Members of the Coleman family.(Gary Coleman)

Coleman Douglas identified the victims as her uncles Horace "Butch" Coleman and Irving Raymond Coleman; Horace Coleman's wife, Belinda Coleman; her cousins, Angela Coleman and Glenn Coleman; Angela's 2-year-old son Maxwell; Glenn's two sons Evan and Reece; and his 1-year-old daughter, Arya.

Glenn's wife, Tia Coleman, and Angela's older son, whose name has not been released, survived the accident, the Star reported.

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT July 20: Stone County authorities now say all 17 of the victims in the duck boat accident have been accounted for and that nine of the victims were from the same family, according to Gov. Mike Parson’s office. Two members of the family, identified by local news outlets as the Coleman family, survived. Officials said the victims range in age from 1 to 70 years old.

 

Meantime, mourners are putting flowers on the victims’ cars in the Ride the Ducks parking lot, and the community of Branson, Missouri, is holding several candlelight vigils Friday night in memory of those killed. 

One of the vigils is scheduled at Table Rock Lake where the accident happened, according to KY3-TV.

 

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT July 20: As the search for the bodies of the final four victims in the tragic duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri, continues, family and friends are mourning the staggering loss of life on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening.

One woman lost nine members of her family, USA Today reported, citing Gov. Mike Parson’s office.

 

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT July 20: Branson Mayor Karen Best told The Associated Press that Bob Williams, the man who was driving the Ride the Ducks boat that sunk Thursday in a southwest Missouri lake, was a “great ambassador for Branson” who “was at every event.”

Seventeen people died, including Williams, and 14 others were injured Thursday when the duck boat capsized in Table Rock Lake, according to authorities.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said earlier Friday that the boat’s captain survived.

In a statement posted on Facebook, employees of Ride the Ducks Branson said the business would be closed “while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community.”

“This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking,” the statement said. “Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time.”

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Friday morning that authorities recovered four more bodies after a duck boat capsized in southwest Missouri, KSMU reported, bringing the death toll from Thursday’s incident to 17.

 

Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. He said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died. The captain survived.

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT July 20: Nearly two decades ago, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a warning about boats with overhead canopies like the one that sank Thursday on Table Rock Lake after a deadly accident claimed 13 lives in Arkansas, according to the Kansas City Star.

 

The Miss Majestic duck boat was carrying 21 passengers when it sank in 1999 in Lake Hamilton, the Star reported. Authorities found seven dead passengers trapped inside the boat when they recovered it, four of which were pinned to the underside of the canopy, according to the Star.

“Contributing to the high loss of life was a continuous canopy roof that entrapped passengers within the sinking vehicle,” NTSB officials said in an accident report.

Authorities continued searching Friday for four people who are presumed dead after Thursday’s accident in southwest Missouri. Officials said 13 other people have been confirmed dead in the incident.

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said divers are going back in the water Friday in search of four people who remain missing and are presumed dead after Thursday’s duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake.

Rader said the search had shifted to “recovery mode for the bodies that are still missing,” at a news conference Friday morning.

"It's been a long night,” Rader said. “It's been a very trying night.”

 

Rader said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died but that the captain survived.

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT July 20: Authorities are expected to provide an update on the investigation into Thursday's deadly duck boat accident in Missouri at a news conference Friday.

Update 9:55 a.m. EDT July 20: President Donald Trump shared sympathies Friday to the families and friends of the people involved in Thursday’s deadly duck boat accident in southwest Missouri.

“Such a tragedy, such a great loss,” the president wrote Friday in a tweet. “May God be with you all!”

 

Update 8:15 a.m. EDT July 20: Officials with the State Highway Patrol said Friday that two more bodies have been found after Thursday’s duck boat accident in southwest Missouri, bringing the death toll to 13.

 >> On AJC.com: Bahamas boating tragedy brings vacation safety to the forefront

State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace said four other people remained missing.

 

Original report: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. Seven were being treated early Friday, he said.

The boat capsized after a strong line of thunderstorms moved through the area around 7 p.m. Thursday. Rader said weather “was a factor” in the incident.

Authorities said the boat had 31 people on board, including children, when it capsized. 

The boat had life jackets on board, according to CNN. The news network reported that other boats on the water docked before the bad weather hit.

 
Emergency responders work at Table Rock Lake after a deadly boat accident in Branson, Missouri. Officials said a tourist boat has apparently capsized on the lake. At least 8 people are confirmed dead.(Nathan Papes/AP)

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate and are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to come forward.

A dive team and rescue officials worked through the night to find survivors.

They ended the search around 11 p.m., according to KY3.

Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly boat accident at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., Thursday, July 19, 2018.(Andrew Jansen/AP)

Emergency responders set up a staging area overnight on the lakeshore near the Showboat Branson Belle, local media reported, although the Belle was not involved in the accident.

Branson officials opened an emergency shelter inside city hall for the victims.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7 p.m. Thursday at Branson Airport. 

“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is watching the developments.

 

DUKW, known as duck boats, are six-wheel-drive amphibious vehicles that were used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War. 

Since then, duck boat tours have become popular and are offered on lakes and rivers around the United States, including Missouri, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Alabama.

 

Ripley Entertainment acquired the Ride The Ducks in Branson in late 2017 from Ride the Ducks International, a subsidiary of Norcross, Georgia-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corp.

Ride the Ducks International manufactures amphibious vehicles and licenses them for tours at affiliates. It also operates duck tours at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. The company formerly operated tours in several other cities, including Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia. But in recent years it ended operations following deadly accidents. 

In 2015, a Ride the Ducks tour bus collided with a charter bus carrying student on the Aurora bridge in Seattle.

Five students were killed and several others injured.

A charter bus, left, and an amphibious Ride the Ducks tour vehicle collided on the Aurora Bridge in downtown Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.(Elaine Thompson, AP)

The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

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Impact of 3-vehicle crash pushes car, SUV into McDonald’s lot in Springfield

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 10:19 PM
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 11:00 PM

3-vehicle crash sent cars flying into Springfield McDonald's parking lot

UPDATE @ 11 p.m.

Alcohol may have been a factor in a three-vehicle crash Friday night that sent four people to area hospitals.

The impact of the crash around 9:10 p.m. in the 2300 block of East Main Street forced a red car and silver SUV off the roadway and into a McDonald’s parking lot.

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>> Shooting of Springfield man ruled homicide; victim ID’d

According to witnesses, the driver of the red car pulled out of KFC and in front of a white pickup truck, which then struck it. The car then hit the SUV.

The driver of a red car was taken to Miami Valley Hospital in serious condition. Two passengers in the red car and the pickup driver were taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

A woman and her children inside the SUV were not hurt, she said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Springfield Police Division.

FIRST REPORT

Multiple injuries were reported tonight in a three-vehicle crash on East Main Street.

The crash was reported around 9:10 p.m. in the 2300 block of East Main Street in front of McDonald’s and KFC.

>> OSP launches move over initiative this month

Main Street is down to one lane going eastbound, with the westbound lanes blocked.

There were crash victims taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center, but their names and the severity of injuries was not immediately available.

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

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OVI checkpoint scheduled in Butler County Saturday night

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:04 AM

An OVI checkpoint will be held in Fairfield Saturday night by the Butler County OVI Task Force.

The checkpoint will be conducted in the northbound lane of US 127 at Pleasant Avenue and Symmes Road from 11 p.m. to no later than 3 a.m. 

Checkpoints and saturation patrols are continuing efforts by the task force to reduce OVI related crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities.

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