Ohio News Briefs

Lawsuits filed against Lake Erie island town, police chief

PUT-IN-BAY (AP) — Two police officers have filed lawsuits against the Lake Erie island resort town of Put-in-Bay and its police chief accused of blocking an investigation into the officers’ sexual assault claims.

The two lawsuits were filed Friday against Put-in-Bay, Chief Robert Lampela and Ottawa County. The suits allege the two officers were sexually assaulted by a fellow officer in 2003, but that Lampela refused to investigate the allegations. Court documents say the officers were subjected to repeated harassment and retaliation while employed by the police department.

Lampela was charged in February with dereliction of duty, falsification and other misdemeanor counts after county and state investigators began looking into the officers’ claims.

Messages to Put-in-Bay’s legal counsel, the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office and Lampela’s attorney seeking comment weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Ohio man pleads not guilty to recording fatal accident scene

LORAIN (AP) — A northeast Ohio man has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge after posting online a cellphone video of a grisly car crash that killed a 17-year-old passenger and critically injured the 17-year-old driver.

Forty-one-year-old Paul Pelton of Lorain entered the plea to vehicle trespassing Wednesday in Lorain Municipal Court. He is accused of using his cellphone to record a one-car accident July 13 in Lorain that occurred after the vehicle went airborne while crossing railroad tracks and crashed into a house. Police say Pelton is heard calling the teenage boys “idiots” as others tried to help them.

Police say the charge stems from Pelton opening a car door on the wrecked vehicle while recording.

His attorney says Pelton shouldn’t have been charged and will be vindicated.

Man sentenced to 6 months for Ohio funeral procession death

CINCINNATI (AP) — A judge has sentenced a southwest Ohio man to six months in jail and suspended his driver’s license for five years after convicting him of vehicular homicide in the death of a retired police officer who was escorting a funeral procession.

Hamilton County court records show that Judge Melissa Powers recently ordered that 31-year-old Anton Palmer be credited for 65 days’ time served after he pleaded no contest to three charges related to the March 28 crash. Authorities said then that Palmer failed to yield at an intersection, and his car was struck by George Brooks’ motorcycle.

The 63-year-old Brooks died a day later from his injuries. He had retired from the Forest Park Police Department after 25 years.

Ohio woman gets 8 years in prison for fatal motorcycle crash

LANCASTER (AP) — A central Ohio woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a crash that killed a 63-year-old motorcyclist and seriously injured the 7-year-old granddaughter riding with him.

Twenty-one-year-old Devin Downour was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to reduced charges of reckless homicide and felonious assault in a deal with prosecutors.

Police have said Downour failed to stop at a red light in Lancaster, southeast of Columbus, and hit the motorcycle and another vehicle last September. Prosecutors contend Downour huffed intoxicants and was high before the crash, but her attorney denied that.

The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports that the Rushville woman requested mercy and apologized in court to the victims’ family.

Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx says those relatives indicated they are satisfied with the plea agreement.

Man admits stealing $265K in VA checks meant for dead man

COLUMBUS (AP) — A northwest Ohio man has admitted to stealing $265,000 in Department of Veterans Affairs disability checks meant for a man who died in 2006.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 46-year-old Dewey Darby pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to theft of public money. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the Toledo man was a caregiver for 80-year-old Donald Strauser and had a bank account in both of their names. Strauser died in 2006, but the VA kept sending checks for eight years that Darby used for his personal use.

The VA says the investigation started when the agency realized Strauser was dead.