Ohio News Briefs


Officials say 2 meningitis deaths in Ohio county unrelated

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio (AP) — Health officials in a rural northeast Ohio county say they have no explanation for a second bacterial meningitis death less than two weeks after a 14-year-old boy was fatally infected.

The New Philadelphia Times Reporter reports Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner Katie Steward says the deaths are unrelated and calls the situation “unusual, bizarre and unexplainable.”

The health department hasn’t released the name or age of the second victim, who died Monday.

High school freshman Ryan Freeland, of Port Washington, died at a hospital Dec. 15 after getting sick the previous day. Indian Valley High School in Gnadenhutten closed Dec. 18 so it could be cleaned.

There were 134 cases of bacterial meningitis in Ohio last year, seven of which were fatal.

Southwest plans spring flights between Cincinnati, Phoenix

CINCINNATI (AP) — Southwest Airlines plans a new seasonal flight service from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Phoenix this spring.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the carrier will fly from the airport in Hebron, Kentucky, to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport from March 8 to April 7. Southwest will operate flights Monday through Friday.

Its new flight service coincides with the Cincinnati Reds spring training in Arizona, which is less than 30 minutes from the Phoenix airport.

Southwest announced it would start flying out of the Cincinnati airport, known as CVG, in January. Airline officials told the newspaper in November that flights to Chicago and Baltimore exceeded expectations, but they didn’t disclose plans then for new flight services.

CVG officials say lower prices and more passengers are drawing more low-cost carriers.

2 people found dead in flipped-over car in Ohio canal

OREGON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in northwest Ohio say two people have been found dead inside a car that flipped onto its roof in a canal.

The state Highway Patrol has identified the victims as 41-year-old Joshua Cassady and 51-year-old Kimberly Cassady, both of Toledo. They were found dead Tuesday afternoon at a yacht club outside of Toledo. A dog inside the car survived.

Highway patrol Lt. Shaun Robinson says the car went off a narrow, ice-slicked road and down an embankment before ending up in the canal. Robinson estimates that the car was in the water around 10 minutes before being discovered by a passer-by.

The Lucas County Coroner’s Office will determine how the pair died. Robinson says it’s unclear how they are related.

Famous hippo Fiona nears 1st birthday after up-and-down year

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Zoo plans to celebrate the first birthday of its famous baby hippo, Fiona, with special treats and a visit by specialists from a children’s hospital who helped her survive after her premature birth.

Fiona turns 1 on Jan. 24. The zoo will celebrate a bit early on Jan. 20, with events including cake and ice cream for visitors and question-and-answer sessions with Fiona’s caretakers.

She had a rollercoaster first year, from battling early health complications to becoming a social media star and the subject of several books. The zoo says Fiona can’t be outside in low temperatures, so she is spending winter mostly indoors.

She has grown from 29 pounds (13 kilograms) at birth to over 600 pounds (272 kilograms), though that’s still far from adult-hippo size.

4 teens charged with murder in death of man hit by sandbag

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Four teenage boys have been charged with murder in an Ohio juvenile court after a man struck by a sandbag thrown from an interstate overpass died.

The Blade reports prosecutors filed the charges Tuesday in Toledo against the boys, ages 13 to 15. The teens were initially charged with the juvenile equivalent of felonious assault.

Twenty-two-year-old Marquise Byrd, of Warren, Michigan, died Friday at a Toledo hospital. Byrd was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car traveling south on Interstate 75 in Toledo when a sandbag smashed through the windshield Dec. 19.

The Lucas County Coroner’s Office says Byrd died of blunt-force trauma injuries to the head and neck.

Police and a prosecutor have said the teens threw other objects from the overpass that night.

Customer killed while confronting robber outside store

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Police say a customer at an Ohio convenience store was gunned down as he tried to subdue a robber.

Akron police say the gunman had stolen cash and was fleeing the store Tuesday afternoon when the customer confronted him in the parking lot. Investigators say the customer tried to spray the man with mace or pepper spray before the robber fatally shot him and ran off.

Police continue to search for the shooter.

Authorities have not released the name of the man who was killed.

Police: Officer’s son stabbed drug dealer in front of father

CLEVELAND (AP) — The son of a Cleveland police officer says he was being robbed by a drug dealer on Christmas when he stabbed the man in the neck as his father looked on.

The officer’s 24-year-old son told investigators he had planned to buy marijuana from the other man, who instead attacked him and demanded that he repay a $500 debt.

Cleveland.com reports that the man followed the officer’s son into his house Monday night to retrieve the money. When the officer arrived, the son told him that he was being robbed.

A police report says the officer was ordering the man to leave when his son grabbed a steak knife and stabbed the man. The man fled and was driven to a hospital for treatment.

No charges have been filed.