Elyria – An Elyria man crashed off the Lowell Street Bridge early Tuesday morning and then fled the scene. With the help of some witnesses Police and State Troopers found the man on the railroad tracks by 3M.
State Troopers say 24 year old JohnnyRay Burkhalter of Elyria was traveling on Lowell Street around 2:30 Tuesday morning when he lost control of his 1996 Lincoln Town Car and went off the left side of the road. Burkhalter’s car took out several guardrail posts before coming to rest on the opposite side of the rail. Witnesses told Troopers Burkhalter was bleeding from the head and that he had fled on foot across the bridge.
Elyria Police Officers assisting Troopers went to the 3M Plant while Troopers began searching the wooded area where Burkhalter was last seen running. Burkhalter was found along the tracks and was brought to the 3M parking lot where Elyria Township Firefighters were waiting to treat him for the injuries to his head. Burkhalter was passively resistant throughout the process with Police and had to be strapped down to the cot. He was then transported to Elyria Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
Burkhalter was charged with OVI, Driving under Suspension, Failure to Control, Seatbelt and Possession of Marijuana.
Sheffield Lake – A Sheffield Lake home was gutted by a fire Saturday afternoon on Elmwood Drive. The homeowner Steve Geneva was also injured trying to escape the blaze and one of his two dogs died in the fire.
Sheffield Lake Firefighters responded to 4890 Elmwood Drive Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. after receiving reports of a house fire. Smoke and flames were pouring from the back of the home when Firefighters arrived.
Mutual aid was provided by Sheffield Village, Avon Lake, Avon and Lorain Fire Departments.
Fire officials are investigating to determine the cause of the fire that destroyed the home.
Lorain – A fire that started in a pile of clothes spread to a second floor of an abandoned multi-dwelling home at 17th and Long in Lorain Friday afternoon.
Firefighters first responded to the area after getting reports of smoke in the neighborhood just after 4 p.m. Friday. When Firefighters arrived they found the structure on fire. With no utilities on in the structure and signs that vagabonds may have been occupying the building recently Fire officials are investigating to see if fire was set intentionally.
Elyria – An early morning crash on Route 57 between Cleveland Street & Taylor left the driver trapped inside for about 30 minutes.
The single vehicle crash occurred just before 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the northbound lanes of Route 57 just past the bridge. Police say 26 year old Derrick Worthy of Lorain was traveling northbound when he lost control of his Ford Explorer before going off the left side of the road and rolling over onto its side.
Assistant Chief Ron Brlas of the Elyria Fire Department said they found Worthy pinned inside near the back of the Explorer. “While some of the guys were cutting the windshield off others were putting supports in place to stabilize the vehicle to make it safe for us to get inside to the victim.”
Once the vehicle was stabilized Captain Joe Pronesti made his way inside of the overturned SUV to check on Worthy. According to Brlas Worthy was speaking with Pronesti and Paramedics during the extrication process telling them he was having neck and back pains. Once some cutting was done a portion of the roof was pulled back and Worthy was pulled from the vehicle.
LifeCare Paramedics then began treating Worthy before transporting him to an awaiting helicopter on the ground at McKinley School next to the hospital. Worthy was then flown to Cleveland where he is now listed in good condition.
It is not clear what caused Worthy to lose control but snow and freezing rain had covered the roads before the crash.
Elyria – Two vehicles, one 1994 Mustang and one 2001 Ford Expedition, were totaled after a fire early Thursday morning on Ridge Circle.
Assistant Chief Ron Brlas of the Elyria Fire Department said they received the call just after midnight on Thursday morning. “The first caller said one vehicle on fire and that it was close to the building so we made it a full response just in case. While responding we received additional information that a second car was also on fire. When Engine 2 arrived on scene they indeed found both vehicles fully involved in the parking lot but away from any structures.”
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in a short amount of time and then performed overhaul on both vehicles.
Both vehicles were owned by one man who told Brlas he had not driven either vehicle all day. In fact he said he had recently dropped the insurance on the Mustang because he has not been driving it for awhile due to mechanical problems.
Fire Investigators were called to the scene to begin their investigation into what started the blaze.
Elyria – One man ended up in the hospital and another in Jail early this morning after a shooting in downtown Elyria.
A shot that sounded like a canon firing rang out in downtown Elyria early Sunday morning as patrons of the downtown bars were milling around on Kerstetter Way. Just seconds after the shot was heard an alert Elyria Police Officer spotted a large SUV pull off of Kerstetter Way onto Broad Street at a high rate of speed. The Officer quickly fell in behind and pulled the SUV over on Broad near West Ave.
Other Officers arrived and performed a Felony Stop having the driver exit the vehicle and walk backwards towards them. While the man was following orders he kept telling Officers he did nothing wrong that he just wanted to get out of the area. When Officers asked where the gun was he said he had no gun.
Once he was secured Officers searched the vehicle and discovered a large 6-shooter .44 Magnum handgun with one spent shell in the back of the SUV.
The victim was taken to Amherst Hospital by friends and told Officers he didn’t know anything.
Sandusky – A press conference in Sandusky began with a moment of silence this morning as Erie County Sheriff Terry M. Lyons announced the In the Line of Duty death of Sandusky Police Officer Andrew Dunn.
According to Sheriff Lyons Officer Dunn made contact with 50 year old Kevin J. Randleman who was riding a bike on a side street at 3:01 a.m. Lyons said there was an exchange of gunfire between the two with Officer Dunn receiving multiple gunshot wounds. Sandusky Firefighters treated Dunn at the scene before transporting him to Firelands Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:33 a.m.
Randleman received one gunshot wound and was also treated by Firefighters before being transported to Firelands. He was then flown by Toledo LifeFlight to the University of Toledo Hospital where he is receiving further treatment.
Chief Jim Lang of the Sandusky Police Department said that Officer Dunn was a 3 year veteran of the Department having been hired in March of 2008 and described him as a “fine young man.”
Dunn was married with 2 young children; Lang said one is only 5 months old. Dunn’s father according to Lang has also been a member of the Sandusky Police force for over 20 years.
Chief Lang said that this is a “very sad day in the city.”
Authorities would not release any additional information other than to say the stop of Randleman was self initiated by Dunn and that the Department has had contact with Randleman in the past.
Eaton Township – Three people were taken to the hospital Friday night after a collision between two motorcycles on Route 83 in Eaton Township.
Trooper Lance Deshuk of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the two bikes were traveling northbound on Route 83 just north of Route 82 at the time of the crash. “The bikes were riding staggered and at some point the two bikes came in contact with each other sending them both to the ground. At this point we are getting conflicting stories from the three victims so we are not sure which bike went into the other.”
Eaton Township Firefighters treated both drivers, 28 year old Thomas DeCrane of Fairview Park and 32 year old Micheal Cehelnik of Lakewood, and one rider at the scene and then transported all three to St. John West Shore Emergency Room with road rash and other non-life threatening injuries.
Deshuk said that charges are pending the investigation.
Elyria – Two men were arrested early Friday morning for breaking into the TLC bar at 333 Clark Street after an alert Police Officer spotted them hauling cases of beer from the building.
Elyria Police Officer Jim Sword was on patrol at 4:35 a.m. when he spotted two subjects, later identified as 20 year old Jefferson Gleba and 19 year old Dalton Rudy, both of Elyria, carrying something across Clark Street from the area of the TLC bar.
As Sword pulled into the parking lot of Ridge Tool he spotted the two suspects loading cases of beer into a silver Honda Civic. When the two saw Sword they took off running towards Ridge Tool then split up in different directions. Sword was able to apprehend both suspects.
When questioned, Gleba advised Sword he ran because he has no valid driver’s license. Both admitted also to drinking earlier in the evening.
After other Officers arrived and secured the two suspects Officers began checking the car. They found several cases of beer loaded into the trunk and back seat along with a small bag of Thomason’s chips. Officers then found an insecure door at TLC and a similar bag of chips lying just outside of the door. Officers also spotted broken beer bottles lying in the roadway leading from the bar to the Honda.
Officers inspected the inside of TLC and found cooler doors opened and a case of beer sitting on the counter along with a cold bottle of beer on the floor.
Sword noted that when he pulled his car up to the front of TLC and spotted the insecure door Gleba, who was sitting in the front seat with him, stated, “Oh, this is a bar?” Sword also noted that he is aware Gleba had lived on Winkles near Clark before and had prior dealings with him.
Both were charged with Breaking & Entering (F5), Obstructing Official Business (M2) and Underage Consumption (M1), and taken to the Lorain County Jail.
Elyria – Elyria Firefighters were called to a reported car fire at 189 Clinton Ave early Friday morning. As Firefighters were pulling up the car was so heavily involved in fire and sitting so close to the house they feared the house was also on fire. As they got closer they could see the car was just far enough away from the home and only the car was burning.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze quickly but remained on scene for over an hour while Fire Investigators were called in to inspect the scene. Believing the fire was arson the car was then towed for further investigation.
Elyria – The driver of a car that slammed into a house at 717 Woodland Ave early Friday morning apparently didn’t want to wait around for the Police to explain what had happened. Neighbors say the man, who was described as a white male with long hair in his mid 20’s wearing black jacket, took off after the crash and was last seen running east on Walnut.
The suspect did leave behind a strong odor of natural gas as the car had struck the gas line at the front of the house. Ohio Edison was called to the scene and secured the line.
Although Police searched the area they did not find the suspect.
It was one year ago that our community lost Elyria Police Officer Jim Kerstetter. I have been trying to figure out how to handle the first anniversary of that horrible night, I’ve even had friends offer suggestions of what I should do. As I reflect back on the 15th and the days that followed one thing kept sticking out – the support from the community.
I remember standing at the scene that night with a photographer from News Channel 5 and telling him about Jim. I told him that although after someone dies we almost always hear, “he was a great guy,” well, in this case that line is true. Try to find an enemy of Jim Kerstetter. Try to find someone that will tell a bad story about him. Good luck if you try, because you’re just not going to find it.
I believe the actions of our community in the hours and days following proved what I told my friend. The outpouring of support to Jim’s family and to the Elyria Police Department was an amazing tribute to a great Police Officer and friend. From the candlelight vigil that was attended by hundreds to the funeral that saw thousands lining the streets of Elyria and Sheffield Village, our community truly came together to say thank you to Jim.
There was one night that really stood out for me showing just how much Jim touched the lives of so many in this community. It was Friday night after the vigil at the Police Station. I had heard people were going to line North Abbe Road with candles for the family as they drove home from the funeral home. So after the vigil I decided to drive down N Abbe to see if I could get some photos of the candles, or maybe just to see them. As I rounded the corner onto Abbe from 57 I noticed people standing in the parking lots across from Drug Mart. I first thought ok this is the group of people who placed the candles but then as I continued up Abbe towards the college just about every corner had people standing with signs and candles. When I made it to the college there were hundreds of people standing on the side of the road. They were all there to show their support to Jim’s family as they drove past heading home. They stood for hours just to waive and stand silently as the family drove by for a moment.
March 20, 2010 – the day of Jim’s funeral and the images from that day will forever be in my mind. As horrible as the events from the 15th were, the support this community showed to Jim’s family and to his extended family at the Elyria Police Department was phenomenal. That is what will forever be in my mind.
I miss seeing my friend out on the road. I miss the long chats at Speedway on the weekends. I miss seeing him wear the black stocking hat that is known as “the Kerstetter hat.” Mostly, I just miss him being around. When I get to missing him I just picture him standing with his arms crossed and him smiling. I’m not totally sure if there is a Heaven and Hell, but what I am sure about though is if they do exist I am positive my friend is up above watching over us. As Christine Halvorsen wrote in her poem to Jim – “Now Guarding the Gates of Heaven, EPD – 177.”
A good friend of mine, Jason Gilbert, wrote a song years ago titled, “In the Silence.” I kept thinking of the song, and the words in the song, last year after we lost Jim. The words can be a great comfort to anyone who has lost someone.
When I walk You walk along You’re right beside me With your love guiding me And no matter – what tomorrow brings You comfort me
Last fall I got Jason into a recording studio in Cleveland to record his song special for this tribute video to my friend. As you watch the images go by, I ask that you listen to the words in his song.
The first song on the video is called, “The Coulin” and was performed live by Brigid’s Cross.
One last piece of business before I end – As some of you may know there was a 5K held in Jim’s name last year. That tradition will continue this July 9th as the KERSTETTER 5K RUN / FAMILY WALK returns. For information about the K5K you can log on to kerstetter5k.com (still under construction) or join the facebook page. See you all in July.
Local County officials were advised today by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency that the county did not meet the criteria set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Small Business Administration and will not receive any disaster assistance.
Only Auglaize and Marion Counties have been identified by the state office as eligible for Small Business Administration loan assistance. Despite the widespread flooding across the state, no Ohio County met the requirements for direct FEMA assistance.
“The criteria is very strict”, said Tom Kelley, Director of the Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “We were just not able to come up with the requirement amount of structures with major damage or that were destroyed”. Despite the hundreds of homes across the county that incurred sewer backup, that type of flooding cannot be considered for the flood damage assessment criteria.
Over 100 homeowners either called into the agency or were visited by county damage assessment teams, emergency management personnel, and a field representative from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The damage survey was submitted to the State of Ohio on March 2, 2011.
Amherst – Police have released details of the multi-vehicle crash that took the life of an Amherst man Thursday night.
Chief Joseph Kucirek of the Amherst Police Department said his department received the call at 7:30 p.m. of a crash involving multiple vehicles on Route 2 between Route 58 and Oak Point Road. According to Kucirek two vehicles were westbound and two were eastbound.
Vehicle 1, 1996 Chevy Silverado, was driven by Richard Haag, age 60 of Amherst Vehicle 2, 2000 GM Yukon, driven by Timothy McKenna, age 49 of Cleveland Vehicle 3, 2010 Ford Escape, driven by Amber Hunker, age 32 of Lorain Vehicle 4, 2001 Dodge Durango, driven by Maggie Woodrum, age 49 of Oberlin
Preliminary indications reveal the following: Vehicle 1 and 4 were both westbound on SR 2. Vehicle 1 struck the rear of Vehicle 4. Vehicle 1 then crossed the median into eastbound traffic and was struck on the passenger side by Vehicle 2. Vehicle 3 then struck the back of Vehicle 2.
Haag was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain by LifeCare Paramedics but was pronounced dead in the Emergency Room.
McKenna was transported to Amherst Hospital Emergency Room by LifeCare Paramedics and was later flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
Those in the other two vehicles refused treatment at the scene.
Kucirek said the only victim not wearing a seatbelt was Haag.
The exact cause of the accident is still being investigated. It is unknown if alcohol and/or any medical issues played a part in the accident. The Lorain County Coroner’s Office will determine cause of death for Haag.
Ohio State Patrol assisted in the accident reconstruction process.
SR 2 EB lane was shut down for approximately 4 hours.
Officers worked to get vehicles and small trucks turned around in the EB lane and head back to the entrance ramp at Oak Point Road. This was complete around 10:30 PM. Semi traffic was unable to turn around and was delayed until the road was reopened. This involved about 12 semi trucks.