As the community transitions into 2018, the Record-Herald takes a look back at the top stories of 2017. This is the second of three parts and will cover May, June, July and August.
Two Washington C.H. men were being held in the Fayette County Jail for allegedly trafficking heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine in May. At around 6 p.m. on a Thursday, a Washington C.H. Police Department officer responded to the Ohio Thrift Store, 100 Washington Square, in response to a report of suspicious people sitting in the parking lot. The officer approached the passenger side window of a 1998 Jeep Cherokee and identified the man in the driver’s seat as Frank A. Davis, 47, and the passenger as Justin M. Wilson, 22, of 407 Broadway St.
Judge Victor Pontious, Jr. was victorious in the Republican primary election in May in a competitive race for Washington C.H. Municipal Court Judge. Pontious, the incumbent, garnered 1,574 votes and 58.10 of the total vote, according to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections. In her first time running for public office, local attorney Susan Wollscheid received 1,135 votes and 41.90 percent of the total vote.
A Columbus resident was arraigned in court in May for allegedly stealing more than $150,000 from a local pediatrician’s office. Angela R. Johnson appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to be arraigned on two charges of aggravated theft, each a third-degree felony. According to the incident reports filed with the Washington Court House Police Department, Johnson allegedly worked as an office manager at ABC Pediatrics in Washington Court House for 10 years.
A multi-agency investigation into alleged drug trafficking resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old Fayette County man in May. Following a drug transaction, Joshua Hudson was arrested by Fayette County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Washington C.H. Police Department officers, and agents from the US 23 Major Crimes Task Force. During a traffic stop, Hudson was found to be in possession of a substance “presumptively identified as heroin,” according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth.
Vehicle, credit card and pistol thefts reported last year in Washington Court House were allegedly linked to a “team” of “dope boys” and “prostitutes” working across central Ohio. A case against Kyle R. Johnson from Columbus was heard Monday in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. The 32-year-old was arraigned on eight felony charges including grand theft of a firearm, theft, misuse of a credit card, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property.
Sentencing was continued in June for a man who admitted to assaulting a deputy sheriff inside the Fayette County Jail. Washington Court House resident Andrew M. Shaw plead guilty in April to assault of a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony, during a plea hearing in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. Reports state that Shaw was arrested for an OVI and was taken to the jail. During testing, he refused to sit in a chair and became argumentative, kicking deputy sheriff Jason Havens in the legs.
Following the reported drug overdose of a Robinson Road resident, police were able to gather information to track down the man who allegedly sold the drugs to the overdose victim. At approximately 9:20 a.m., Washington C.H. Police Department officers responded to the Robinson Road trailer park on a report of an overdose. The man who overdosed survived and told officers that the drugs he ingested were purchased from William D. Campbell, according to reports.
Two bomb threats against the Washington C.H. City Schools this year were made by a 46-year-old New Vienna man in an effort to close the high school so he could spend time with a 17-year-old male student with whom he was sexually involved, police allege. Brian D. Tedrick was arrested in New Vienna by the U.S. Marshals Service at the request of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. A Fayette County grand jury recently indicted Tedrick on more than 40 felony counts.
A Staunton home was heavily damaged in June by fire, according to the Concord and Green Township Volunteer Fire Department. A single-family dwelling at 3120 Vine St. caught fire around 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday. According to the fire chief for Concord and Green, Ralph Stegbauer, the family got out safely, but he said he thinks a cat and a dog perished in the fire.
A Huber Heights man awaited sentencing after breaking into his employer’s store and fleeing with $650. A jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict in June when the man’s criminal case proceeded to trial in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. Christopher A. Haddick, 46, was charged with felonious breaking and entering and theft at Cheap Tobacco in Washington Court House, his employer for more than a year’s time, according to testimony.
After receiving a complaint of a Washington C.H. man brandishing a firearm on Eastern Avenue, police tracked down a vehicle and allegedly found the suspect to be in possession of a loaded handgun and a hypodermic needle. Shortly after 1 p.m., it was reported that Michael L. Stolzenburg, 31, of 1106 Rawling St., had just departed from the 600 block of Eastern Avenue in a maroon van after allegedly pointing a gun at another man. Jonathan Sever, a Washington Police Department investigator, located the van backing eastbound from Forest Street to Eastern Avenue.
Fayette County felt the impact of severe weather in July as Eyman Park and portions of Paint Creek in other parts of Washington C.H. became flooded from excessive rain. City Manager Joe Denen urged the community to be safe and said that playing in large ditches of water can be dangerous due to fast moving water.
A Greenfield man was sent to prison after leading law enforcement officers on a pursuit that went for approximately 55 miles throughout Fayette County and surrounding areas. Corey A. Posey, 27, plead guilty to failure to comply, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced in Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to one-and-a-half years in prison.
In an alleged attempt to steal a 65-inch Samsung curved television from the Walmart in Washington C.H., a Hamden, Ohio man reportedly led police on a vehicle chase that exceeded 100 miles per hour before he was apprehended. Just after midnight on a Thursday, Washington Police Sgt. Eric Hott observed a vehicle leave the Walmart lot, 1397 Leesburg Ave., from the access road onto US Route 62 without its headlights on, according to reports. As Hott drove behind the vehicle, he saw a large television box hanging out the rear hatch.
A 44-year-old Kentucky man was escorted to jail after Fayette County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Beathard found him guilty of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old and possessing methamphetamine. Judge Beathard revoked bond for Richard A. Davidson, who was charged in 2016 with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony, and aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony.
A state lawmaker honored a slain Ohio police chief by renaming part of a road for him. Eric DiSario, a graduate of the Washington C.H. High School Class of 1997, had been police chief in Kirkersville for only three weeks when he was fatally shot May 12 while responding to reports of an armed man at a nursing in the city about 24 miles (39 kilometers) east of Columbus. Locally, those who attended school with DiSario established a scholarship fund in his name. Fayette County schools hope to award a $500 scholarship each year to a graduate interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, according to deputy health commissioner at the Fayette County Health Department, Leigh Cannon.
A Kentucky man described in court as a pedophile broke a window pane in the Fayette County Jail just minutes after he was brought back from a sentencing hearing where he learned he will spend the next four years in prison for unlawful sexual conduct with a 13-year-old Washington C.H. girl. Richard A. Davidson, 44, appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas for sentencing on two charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony, and aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. Davidson was found guilty on both charges by Judge Steven Beathard after a lengthy bench trial that presented evidence and witness testimony from both sides of the courtroom.
In August, LifeConnect Church held a party to create “Washington Court House’s Longest Banana Split” with its church members and the community. Kids of all ages came out with parents, enjoyed a free meal courtesy of the church, and then gathered to create and devour a 30-foot banana split. The process took about 30 minutes to fully create the sweet treat, but almost less than two minutes to completely dish it out.
Washington Court House was part of a historical celestial event in August as residents visited Washington Park to enjoy the first solar eclipse to pass from coast-to-coast in 99 years. Thanks to Lorre Black, Kris Hellenthal, Leah Ann Wyckoff, and the local Kiwanis Club, the community was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime party called the “Black Sky Project.” Started by Black, a large crowd of locals came together to enjoy the Great American Eclipse. “It’s great (to be able to do this for the community),” Hellenthal said. “This is a hobby we really enjoy and it feels nice to be able to share it with other people. It gives people the opportunity to see (the eclipse) who may not have glasses, and gives them a place to sit and do that. We are taking photos every 10 or 15 minutes with the scope and are going to collect them all, touch them up and go from there.”
Editor’s note: This is only a small selection of the top stories from the second third of the year. The final part of the “A year in review” will cover September, October, November and December.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy