As 2018 comes to a close, the Record-Herald is taking a moment to reflect on the year’s biggest news and sports stories.
Bond was set in court in early January for three family members from Mt. Sterling who were arrested New Year’s Eve for allegedly committing a multitude of thefts and vehicle break-ins across Fayette County. Donald E. Johnson, 42, Andrew A. Johnson, 23, and Chelsea D. Johnson, 22, were apprehended Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at the Baymont Inn, 11431 Allen Road, Jeffersonville. The three suspects had been held in the Fayette County Jail since their arrests on charges that include breaking and entering, theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, and criminal damaging.
A Miami Trace Middle School student was charged with juvenile delinquency for allegedly posting a bomb threat directed at other students on social media last January. An Instagram account called “bombthreatmiamitrace” threatened to bomb several students and listed their names, according to Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis. The school district was already on a two-hour delay for extreme cold temperatures and after the threat was discovered, the decision was made to close the campus for the day.
Grace Lynn Cordell, 45, of 1324 Grace St., Washington Court House, was being held in January in the Highland County Jail on 10 charges of trafficking and possession of drugs, including fentanyl, in a school zone. Cordell was indicted by a Highland County grand jury Dec. 5, 2017 for two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs in the vicinity of a school zone, a third-degree felony; one count of trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school zone, a fourth-degree felony; five counts of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony; and two counts of trafficking in heroin, a fifth-degree felony.
The suspect who allegedly shot a man in the parking lot of a local church in 2017 was released from jail in January. Brandon J. Taylor, 27, was released from the Fayette County Jail after posting bond on charges of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and felonious assault, a second-degree felony. The charges were filed in the Washington Municipal Court against Taylor Dec. 21, 2017 after he was found to be the suspect who allegedly shot a Butler County man Nov. 28, 2017 in the Center Christian Church parking lot near I-71 in Fayette County. The victim in the shooting survived.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) hosted an active shooter training for all Fayette County churches in January at the Heritage Memorial Church. Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said that about 200 people showed up for the training at the Washington Court House church. Jack Anders led the presentation on how to incorporate ALICE training into churches. Local school systems use the ALICE training, and Anders is the safety coordinator for the Miami Trace Local Schools. The ALICE acronym stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.”
The Panthers defeated Madison Plains and then London to claim the 2017 championship of the tournament sponsored annually by Nick Epifano, owner and operator of McDonald’s of Fayette County and Jamestown. The Panthers gathered on the court at Madison Plains High School following their championship win over London on Dec. 29, 2017.
The Village of Jeffersonville’s Board of Public Affairs (BOPA) was abolished at the start of 2018 and a village administrator position was created to replace the board, according to village mayor Bob Kinzer. Jeffersonville’s BOPA was comprised of three salaried members — Johnnie Bobbitt, Kenny Roush and Janet McCarty. Kinzer said that under Ohio Revised Code law, once a board of public affairs is dissolved, a village administrator position must be established to carry on the duties that the board had, including overseeing the water utilities.
A Columbus man was sentenced to three years in prison in February after admitting to shooting a Bloomingburg man in the stomach. Jaquan Tyrell McCullough, 24, plead guilty Tuesday to one charge of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, in Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. Reports on the case said McCullough was a passenger in a car Aug. 8, 2016, on State Route 38 just south of the I-71 overpass when he asked the driver to pull over because he felt sick. Reports said McCullough then exited the car and turned to fire a single shot at a 33-year-old driver through the open car window, hitting the man in the abdomen area, before fleeing on foot.
The drawing for the Southeast District was held in February and the Miami Trace Lady Panthers (17-2) were selected as the No. 1 seed. The Washington Lady Blue Lions (17-2) were the No. 2 seed. Miami Trace played the winner of the game between No. 8 seed Waverly (7-11) and No. 9 seed McClain (3-14). Waverly played McClain in a battle of Tiger teams Monday, Feb. 12 at Adena High School. Miami Trace then took on the winner of that game on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Adena High School.
A seven-minute high speed auto chase that spanned approximately 10 miles — beginning in Washington Court House and ending in Ross County — resulted in the arrest of two individuals and the alleged discovery of illegal drugs and food stamp cards. At around 10:30 p.m., patrolman Jeffery Heinz with the Washington Police Department was on patrol on State Route 753 between Stuckey and Washington Waterloo roads when he saw a vehicle pass his cruiser with a fictitious registration, according to reports. Heinz wrote in his report that he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle just north of Robinson Road on State Route 753 by activating the cruiser’s emergency lights and siren.
A Feb. 27 jury trial for a man charged with manslaughter was continued after counsel asked the court for more time to prepare for trial. Trevor Milstead was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. The 27-year-old appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas with his defense attorney, Susan Wollscheid.
Following a hearing in Fayette County Monday, a Greenfield man was convicted of breaking and entering in three counties and was sentenced to nine months in prison. Public defense attorney Susan Wollscheid emerged from a closed meeting with her client, Charles W. Pennington, before a final plea and sentencing hearing was held with Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven Beathard during open court. Minutes later, Pennington, 35, entered a plea of guilty to a single count of breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree. Beathard ordered the Greenfield man to serve nine months in prison for breaking into a barn located in Perry Township in Fayette County.
A Washington Court House man who eluded police in a high speed chase and struck a sheriff’s cruiser was ordered to serve a four-year-and-three-month prison sentence. Thirty-six-year-old Joey L. Woody appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas and plead guilty to failure to comply, a third-degree felony.
Local students joined a nationwide movement of tens of thousands of young people in March to protest what they call U.S. Congress’ inaction in response to the violence plaguing schools and communities. At both Miami Trace High School and Washington C.H. High School, students held solemn events to honor the memories of the 17 killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. As part of the #ENOUGH National School Walkout, students across the country and beyond were urged to leave class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes — one minute for each of the dead in Florida.
Land transferred March 6 in downtown Washington Court House is the site of a future Sonic drive-in restaurant. Four adjacent parcels of land were surveyed for the site of the new restaurant: one parcel that includes the residence of 421 W. Court St., a parcel of vacant ground on West Court Street, the parcel of land at the former Korn O’Neill Insurance Agency building at 403 W. Court St., and the parcel of land with the duplex residence at 615-617 Circle Ave. Work continues on the site.
Washington High School senior Brandon Underwood has made one of the biggest decisions of his young life, signing a letter of intent on March 8 to attend Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. There he will continue his education and his bowling career. Underwood has had an outstanding high school bowling career, being recently named First Team, All-Frontier Athletic Conference, the fourth year in a row that he has been accorded First Team, All-League honors. The previous three seasons the Blue Lions were a member of the South Central Ohio League. Underwood has held an average of over 200 for his career with an average of 212.
This is the first part in a series of four, covering January through March, that reflects on important 2018 news and sports stories that ran in the Record-Herald. Stay with the Record-Herald all this week for more.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.