Ohio News Briefs


Body found in woods near highway a week after hit-skip crash

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine whether a man found dead in a wooded area near a central Ohio highway is the driver who ran from a nearby crash a week earlier.

A Franklin County sheriff’s deputy spotted the body Monday while trying to retrace the possible path of the driver who ran off after the Jan. 22 crash along Interstate 270 south of Columbus.

No one was hurt in the crash. A deputy following up on it tried to reach the car’s owner Monday and learned from a relative that the driver was missing, though no missing-person report was filed. The deputy then returned to the crash scene and found the body nearby.

The coroner’s office was working to identify the man and determine how he died.

Ohio congressional delegates pitch Amazon on Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s congressional delegation is telling Amazon that the state capital, Columbus, is the best location for its second North American headquarters.

In a letter sent Tuesday, both Ohio senators and all 15 sitting representatives of both parties again pitched Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos on the state’s assets, as they did when multiple Ohio cities were in the running for the multibillion-dollar investment.

Tuesday’s letter, drafted by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, specifically touts Columbus’ advantages. Among those cited are central Ohio’s reputation for research and development; its position in the national transportation grid; its status as a high-technology Smart City; its higher education opportunities, including at Ohio State University; and its workforce.

Columbus was among 20 finalist cities identified by Seattle-based Amazon for its second headquarters, which will employ 50,000 people.

Teacher in video says he tried to restrain, not tackle, boy

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio high school teacher who tackled a student in a classroom conflict recorded on cellphone video says he felt threatened, was trying only to restrain the boy and regrets what happened.

The Canton Repository reports the 48-year-old Canton teacher resigned in January after being suspended pending a district investigation.

The Dec. 4 video shows him touching the arm of a male student, who pulls away. The teacher then wraps his arm around the student’s neck and takes him to the floor.

The teacher’s attorney hasn’t publicly commented, but a district investigation file includes the teacher’s comments to school officials. He told them he intervened because one student threatened another and ignored attempts to deescalate the situation.

The superintendent characterized the teacher’s behavior as “disturbing and unprofessional.”

Facebook sued by family of victim in fatal shooting video

CLEVELAND (AP) — The family of a Cleveland retiree whose shooting death was recorded and shared on Facebook is suing the social media company for failing to notify authorities about threats posted by the shooter.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed over the April slaying of Robert Godwin Sr. calls Facebook negligent because it has extensive data-mining capabilities but didn’t catch and report the shooter’s threats of violence before the shooting.

A lawyer for Facebook didn’t address those specific allegations in a statement to WJW-TV, but she expressed sympathy for Godwin’s family and noted that content violating Facebook’s policies is removed when users report it.

Gunman Steve Stephens shared video of shooting the 74-year-old Godwin along a Cleveland street. The 37-year-old Stephens killed himself two days later after a police chase in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Family says longtime Ohio businessman deported to Jordan

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — The family of an Ohio businessman who lived in the United States for 38 years says he has been deported to his native Jordan.

Family members of Amer Othman say he boarded a flight out of the country late Monday. The Youngstown man had been in the custody of federal immigration agents since Jan. 16.

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on Othman’s case.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan had tried to stop Othman’s deportation through a private bill that President Donald Trump’s administration ignored. He said on Twitter Monday that he was “extremely disappointed” by the outcome.

WKYC-TV reports that Othman’s family plans to hold a rally in Cleveland on Tuesday.

City to limit tax incentives to jobs paying $15 an hour

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus mayor says future economic tax incentives from the city will be limited to companies whose jobs pay a minimum of $15 an hour.

Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther also is proposing a new property tax abatement program to spur development in neighborhoods with challenges. Ginther and city council members outlined the plan Monday for Ohio’s capital, which is also the state’s largest city.

The tax abatement program requires developers receiving abatements for apartments and rehabbed single-family houses in better neighborhoods to set aside one of every five units for affordable housing.

The mayor says the city will give special tax incentive consideration to companies locating in needier neighborhoods and on former brownfield sites.

Ex-official for county charged in theft of over $1.8M

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a northeast Ohio county’s former chief technology officer and his daughter have been indicted on charges accusing them of stealing more than $1.8 million in public money.

Geauga County’s prosecutor said Monday that Stephen Decatur was indicted on charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated theft and theft in office.

Cleveland.com reports authorities say Decatur authorized Geauga County payments to a company owned by daughter Stephanie Stewart and to another vendor, whose identity wasn’t immediately released. Court records allege the companies then sent cashier’s checks that Decatur put in his personal account.

Stewart, of Akron, was indicted on charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and aggravated theft.

Decatur’s attorney declined to comment immediately Monday. Court records don’t list an attorney for Stewart.

Ohio sheriff lands role in Ted Bundy biopic

CINCINNATI (AP) — An outspoken Ohio sheriff says he landed an unexpected role in an upcoming biopic about serial killer Ted Bundy.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones tells WLWT-TV that film crews recruited him to play a detective when they scouted locations for “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” in Cincinnati. The sheriff thinks his handlebar mustache and 10-gallon hat may have made him a good fit for the part.

Jones shot scenes over the weekend with Zac Efron, whom he described as a “very nice guy.” Efron plays Bundy in the film.

Jones says his part is relatively small, but did result in him getting a Screen Actors Guild card.

The sheriff says filming was a great experience, and he didn’t accept payment.

No release date has been set for the movie.

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