Saturday, September 04, 1999


Fog causes wrecks; 2 dead, scores hurt

        TOLEDO — A thick fog that limited visibility to a few feet in some areas of northwest Ohio contributed to more than 20 highway accidents Friday morning, leaving two people dead and 52 injured.

        A 32-mile stretch of the Ohio Turnpike between Toledo and Fremont had 20 accidents and had to be closed through the morning.

        The weather also was blamed in a 16-vehicle pileup on a fog-covered bridge over the Portage River near Port Clinton. One person was killed and 10 were injured in that crash on Ohio 2.

        “It was pretty bad out there,” said State Highway Patrol Cadet Eric Wlodarsky.

        With little visibility, drivers on the turnpike couldn't avoid ramming into one another. As many as 69 vehicles were involved in a series of accidents, said turnpike spokeswoman Karen Lenehan.

        Eleanor Paul, 66, of Flint, Mich., was killed on the turnpike near Toledo. She was a passenger in a van that struck a tractor-trailer.

        Forty-three people were injured, three seriously, in the other turnpike accidents.

        Most of the accidents happened between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

        The National Weather Service said the Maumee River, which the turnpike crosses, created a “river fog” and that similar conditions were likely today.

        Fifteen cars and three semi-trucks collided on the Ohio 2 bridge near Lake Erie, Cadet Wlodarsky said.

        Witnesses said a heavy fog limited visibility.

        Melanie Wrobbel, 42, of Put-in-Bay, died when her pickup truck ran into the back of a tractor-trailer.

Second arrest made in bicyclist's death
        Cincinnati police arrested a 15-year-old Norwood boy Friday and charged him with tampering with evidence in connection with the death of an Elmwood Place man last month.

        Michael Boumer, 37, died Aug. 18, a day after he was struck by a car while riding his bike in the parking lot of the Kroger store in Hartwell. Mr. Boumer suffered from cerebral palsy and had limited mental capacity.

        The 15-year-old surrendered with his attorney Friday evening, Cincinnati police said.

        The driver of the car, Nicholas “Andy” Mays, 19, of Norwood, surrendered to police on Tuesday. He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence.

        Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the homicide unit at 352-3542 or Crimestoppers at 352-3040.

Ohio can regulate radioactive materials
        WASHINGTON — Ohio has won approval to take over licensing, inspecting and regulating radioactive materials in the state, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Friday.

        The action means that the state will be in charge of monitoring the safe handling and disposal of radioactive materials used by hospitals, laboratories and industry.

        The federal government will remain the authority over nuclear power plants and some other facilities, but Ohio's Department of Health becomes the regulatory authority for 574 other federal license-holders, the NRC said.

        The state previously had regulated the use of X-ray machines.

        Thirty other states already have the regulatory authority now granted to Ohio.

19-cent tax bill costs couple $900
        MUNROE FALLS, Ohio — Failure to file a city income tax form on time when only 19 cents was still owed has led to nearly $900 in lawyer and court costs for a suburban Akron couple.

        The problem for Heidi and Steve Celaschi started amid the confusion of their 1997 move from nearby Cuyahoga Falls. They neglected to file an appropriate tax form in their new city of residence by an April deadline.

        The city of Munroe Falls tried to reach the couple, who have an unlisted phone, and sent tax notices by mail and certified mail. The Celaschis said they never got any notice.

        Their trial Thursday for failing to file an income tax return on time was settled with the charge dropped and the couple agreeing to pay $382 in municipal court costs. They hired a lawyer for $500 to get them out of the mess.

$13.6 million allotted for addiction services
        The Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board has awarded more than $13.6 million to 14 substance abuse treatment agencies for the budget year ending June 30, 2000.

        Combined, the agencies served about 8,300 Hamilton county residents last year.

        The largest awards: $4.99 million for Talbert House, $2.25 million for the Crossroads Center, $1.87 million for the Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment, $1.14 million for the Central Community Health Board and $1.05 million for the Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area.

Slain child's mom trusted boyfriend
        PIQUA, Ohio — A woman who left her 4-year-old son at home in the care of a boyfriend said she was shocked to learn later that the boyfriend was charged with killing the child and setting the duplex afire.

        “I have nothing left,” said Susan England, mother of the victim, John James Sandison.

        Elijah J. Massie, 19, an unemployed roofer who lived with the boy and Ms. England, was treated Wednesday for first-degree burns suffered in the house fire. He was arraigned Thursday on murder and aggravated arson charges. Mr. Massie is held in the Miami County jail on $10 million bond to await another hearing next week.

        “He and Eli came out to the car and they both kissed me,” Ms. England told the Dayton Daily News in an interview published Friday. “They both seemed happy. But the next thing, I get called at work and they told me my house was engulfed in flames.”

        If convicted, Mr. Massie could face a possible life sentence on the murder count and three to five years on the arson count. He had lived with Ms. England since May.

        Piqua police initially identified the mother as Susan Sandison, using the name of her former husband, Gary Sandison. But she legally changed her name to Susan England after divorcing Gary Sandison on Aug. 27, police said.

        Firefighters on Wednesday morning found the boy's body. Thirteen hours later, Piqua police told Ms. England, 28, that the boy was dead before the fire was started and that Mr. Massie had been arrested.


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