Ohio News Briefs

Police: 2 found dead in car about to be set on fire ID’d

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two men found dead inside a parked car in Columbus that police say someone was trying to light on fire have been identified.

Officers were called to the scene late Monday night for a report of a man trying to light a rag on fire that was shoved inside the gas tank of a parked car. Police on Tuesday identified the two men found unresponsive inside the car as 22-year-old Caleb Jordan Killen and 22-year-old Jawuan Lamont Wade Reynolds.

Police say Killen and Reynolds were pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say the fire was not successful and the suspect fled the scene before officers arrived.

Teen charged with arson in Ohio church fire

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Investigators have charged a 16-year-old Middletown boy with arson for a fire that extensively damaged a church in southwestern Ohio.

Fire officials said the blaze at Tytus Avenue First Church of God in Middletown that started around 2:30 a.m. Sunday damaged a large portion of the church, including its day care center. Fire investigators estimate damages at some $450,000.

No injuries to people were reported, but police say a 40-year-old box turtle died inside church offices.

Police say the boy is also charged with breaking and entering. Police say the investigation is continuing.

They say the boy could face additional charges and others could be charged. He is being held in the Butler County juvenile detention center.

The church is holding its services at another church in Middletown for now.

Union official: Cleveland police officer hit on highway dies

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland police union official says an officer was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 90 and died.

Police say the officer was hit by a white Toyota Camry on Tuesday morning while setting up flares at the site of an earlier crash involving a firetruck and a van. Police say the driver of the Camry didn’t stop.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Steve Loomis later confirmed the officer died. The officer’s name wasn’t immediately released.

The westbound lanes of the interstate were temporarily closed around the crash location.

WEWS-TV reports the hit-and-run occurred in the area where a state trooper was fatally struck during a traffic stop last fall. The driver in that case has pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide.

Boy, 10, drives to store, then speeds away in police chase

FOSTORIA, Ohio (AP) — Ohio police say an erratic, speeding driver who led an officer on a brief pursuit turned out to be a 10-year-old boy who took his parents’ car without permission and drove 11 miles to a nearby city to shop at a convenience store.

WTOL-TV reports an officer tried to stop a driver who wasn’t using headlights and kept braking Sunday morning, and the vehicle took off at 70 miles per hour.

Police in Fostoria, roughly 40 miles south of Toledo, say the vehicle eventually struck a curb and stopped. No one was hurt.

The boy, from the nearby town of Kansas, was taken into custody and charged with fleeing from police. His parents haven’t been charged. The Review Times reports juvenile court and children’s services are reviewing the case.

Lead pipes service more than 4,000 Akron water customers

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Data recently made public by city officials in Akron shows that more than five percent of the city’s water customers are serviced by lead pipes.

The city on Monday released records and an interactive online map that pinpoints the location of both active lead pipe services and non-lead pipe services throughout Akron.

Mayor Dan Horrigan said the information was released because he wanted citizens to know that their water is clean and safe to drink regardless of whether their homes are serviced by lead pipes.

Of the 85,211 active service pipes charted by the online map, blue dots mark Akron’s 4,341 lead pipes.

John Moore, Akron’s director of public service, says the northeast Ohio city replaces approximately three to five lead pipe services with copper piping each week.

Troopers’ tri-state effort to raise trafficking awareness

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State police in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are raising awareness this week about human trafficking.

The Indiana State Police, the Michigan State Police and troopers with the State Highway Patrol in Ohio are once again partnering with Truckers Against Trafficking in the public education campaign.

The weeklong Tri-State Human Trafficking Initiative will offer instruction about detecting human trafficking to drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees.

A report released Monday by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office says law enforcement agencies reported 135 human trafficking investigations last year with 79 arrests and 28 convictions.

Ohio’s Department of Public Safety said last week the number of Ohio human trafficking cases reported to a national hotline has risen sharply, with the state now fourth in call volume.