As 2018 comes to a close, the Record-Herald is taking a moment to reflect on the year’s biggest news and sports stories.
A 26-year-old Washington C.H. man was indicted on three first-degree felony counts of rape. Devin A. Byrd was accused of raping an 18-year old female at his North North Street home on Feb. 16, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. Following an investigation, Byrd was arrested and served with the grand jury indictment in Jeffersonville. According to the FCSO, Byrd allegedly sexually assaulted the female “against her will and against her objections.” The female was reportedly familiar to Byrd when the rape allegedly occurred.
A Blanchester man allegedly found with 495 grams of methamphetamine, 459 grams of marijuana, and a loaded handgun inside of his vehicle was indicted by a Fayette County grand jury on eight felony charges. Adam P. May, 33, was served with a grand jury indictment charging him with: first-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs, first-degree felony aggravated possession of drugs, two third-degree felony counts of having a weapon under disability, fourth-degree felony trafficking in marijuana, fifth-degree felony possession of drugs (marijuana), fifth-degree felony trafficking in drugs, fifth-degree felony possession of drugs, and fourth-degree misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
A plan of action in the event of a mass fatality was added to the Fayette County All-Hazard Emergency Operation Plan. This plan outlines the steps that must be taken to handle a potential tragedy “with the utmost dignity,” according to Melissa Havens, director of the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). The plan is meant to provide instructions for any potential mass fatality event, such as a tornado, bus or plane crash, or mass shooting. The plan was developed with the use of funding from Homeland Security. It was written by a contractor from AEM Consulting, and revised and approved by representatives from a number of local entities, including: the Coroner’s Office, EMS, Fayette County Memorial Hospital, the Fire Department, and the Health Department. Local funeral directors were also involved in the creation of the plan.
A two-vehicle crash on Interstate 71 South in Jefferson Township claimed the life of a 25-year-old Lebanon, Ohio man. At approximately 11:15 a.m., a 2015 International Box truck, driven by Harry Ector, was heading southbound near the I-71 rest area when it reportedly crashed into the rear of a 2014 semi tractor-trailer, driven by Gyalsten Yeshi, 41, of Oakland, Calif. According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, Ector’s vehicle sustained heavy damage during the crash, entrapping Ector inside the truck. Ector was extricated by members of the sheriff’s office rescue unit and Jefferson Township Fire & Rescue. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
In August, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) detectives were still seeking to identify a suspect and motive as they continue their investigation into the reported homicide that occurred early at the Jamison Road mobile home park. An alleged shooting reported at 2:35 a.m. claimed the life of Raymond E. Baker, 35, of Scioto County, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Details were sparse Monday due to the sheriff’s office being in the middle of its investigation. On Saturday, the FCSO received a 911 call requesting response to 94 Jamison Road, Lot 2, regarding a man with a gunshot wound. Sheriff’s deputies and Washington C.H. Police Department officers responded and located the injured male outside the residence.
A Mt. Sterling man and Jeffersonville woman in an alleged stolen vehicle were apprehended following a chase throughout the county. According to reports from the Washington C.H. Police Department, earlier in the day — about 11:30 a.m. — the department received a notice from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office of an attempt to locate a stolen vehicle out of Mt. Sterling. Around 12:43 p.m., the stolen vehicle — a red 2011 GMC Canyon truck — was reportedly located by patrolman Jeffery Heinz in the 500 block of South Fayette Street on the side of the road occupied by two people, Tyler Stone, 29, of Mt. Sterling, and Katherine Ross, 25, of Jeffersonville.
A Frankfort man was sentenced to six years in prison after Judge Rocky Coss ruled that the verdicts in his jury trial last week — guilty of aggravated burglary and not guilty of felonious assault — were valid. Joel E. Williams, 51, appeared in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Monday with defense attorney Kathryn Hapner, who argued that her client could not be found guilty of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, without being acquitted of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony.
A 39-year-old Tipp City man was sent to prison for six years after pleading guilty in two methamphetamine trafficking cases. Julio C. Villalobos was set to go to trial in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, but instead reached a plea deal with the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office. He pleaded guilty to second-degree felony trafficking in meth and third-degree felony trafficking in meth.
An 18-year-old Miami Trace High School student was critically injured in a one-vehicle accident in the 8000 block of Washington-New Martinsburg Road in southeast Fayette County. A 2007 Honda Civic, driven by Jacob E. Seyfang, of Leesburg, was heading south on Washington-New Martinsburg Road at around 8:15 p.m. when he went off the left side of the roadway before crashing into a tree, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. Seyfang was trapped inside his vehicle before being extricated by members of the Concord-Green Township Fire Department, Stanforth said. He was treated at the scene by members of Fayette County EMS and subsequently airlifted from the scene by MedFlight to Grant Medical Center in Columbus. Seyfang has since made a remarkable and courageous recovery.
A woman was arrested on a flurry of charges after she fled from Leesburg police with two juveniles in a stolen car, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph on U.S. Route 62 before being thwarted by traffic near Staunton in Fayette County, police said. Leesburg Police Chief Shane Nolley told The Times-Gazette that Madison County authorities had been in contact with his department about a stolen vehicle suspected to be in the area, and when he received an anonymous tip that the vehicle was at Fairfield High School, Nolley went to investigate.
A Washington Court House man was charged with robbery through “force or threat of force” following an altercation with his girlfriend, according to the Washington Police Department. According to reports, patrolman Mathew Ellis responded to 320 Gregg St. in reference to an active fight complaint. Upon arrival, Ellis said in his report he made contact with the victim, who advised she and her boyfriend, Patrick J. Wilson (defendant), were arguing with each other. “(Victim) stated they were in the back yard of 320 Gregg St. when the defendant grabbed (the victim) by the throat and dragged her to the rear of the yard,” Ellis wrote in his report. “(The victim) advised that she tried to push the defendant, pull his hair, and hit him in attempts to get him to stop. After being dragged to the rear of the property, the defendant slammed (the victim) on the ground. The defendant then struck (the victim) in the stomach area with his fist.”
Two men were facing a host of felony charges after Washington C.H. Police Department officers made a traffic stop on Grace Street and confiscated methamphetamine, marijuana and a loaded handgun. At around 5:30 p.m., the Washington Police Department was advised of a reportedly stolen 1990 Ford F-150. According to reports, an officer saw the vehicle initially on North North Street, and “it began to make a series of quick turns in an attempt to evade” police. Following an alleged stop sign violation on Rose Avenue, the vehicle was stopped by police on Grace Street near Eastern Avenue. The man driving the vehicle, Parker G. Huffman, 26, of 228 W. Market St., was informed by police he was being charged with receiving stolen property. According to reports, Parker told police the vehicle was not stolen because a family member told him he could drive it. The family member reportedly told police that he did not give Huffman permission to use the truck and that Huffman lied to obtain the keys.
A 41-year-old Xenia man was indicted by a Fayette County grand jury on felony drug trafficking and possession charges. Nathan W. Taulbee was arraigned in Fayette County Common Pleas Court where he was charged with one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony, and two counts of aggravated possession of drugs — one a second-degree felony for possession of meth and one a fifth-degree felony.
This is the third part in a series of four, covering July through September, that reflects on important 2018 news and sports stories that ran in the Record-Herald. Stay with the Record-Herald for the final part in the Jan 2, 2018 edition of the paper.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.