Urbana man sent to prison for theft offenses


An Urbana man will serve several years in prison after he was sentenced last week for theft offenses committed in the county and city of Urbana.

William F. Johnson, 53, was sentenced to 90 months in prison Nov. 24 after previously pleading guilty to seven charges connected to recent break-ins.

On Oct. 4, Urbana police investigated an attempted burglary to an apartment in the 200 block on North Main Street around 12:39 a.m.

According to a resident there, residents may have frightened off a burglar when they hollered that they were notifying police. Police found where an attempt was made to pry open the door to the apartment but were unable to locate anyone in the area.

Less than an hour later, Urbana police Sgt. Dave Reese observed a suspicious person with a backpack walking in the area with a hood covering his face. Reese began to follow the man on foot and found him at the rear of the VFW building on East Court Street. Reese reported that when he identified himself and called out to him, the suspect began running.

After a chase through neighborhood yards, Reese captured the man after spraying him with chemical spray when he refused to follow Reese’s verbal command to show his hands.

The man was identified as Johnson. He reportedly had property belonging to Bill’s Enchanted Florist and Gifts, 221 N. Main St., and Mayflowers Chinese Restaurant, 225 N. Main St. Johnson also possessed criminal tools used for burglaries, as well as several knives.

Police checked and found both businesses had been broken into and had property stolen. Police recovered the property.

This conduct occurred while Johnson was already facing charges for breaking into the Grace Baptist Church, 960 Children’s Home Road. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the church on June 1 after it was broken into overnight.

A court statement filed in the Champaign County Municipal Court states a glass door was smashed, a fire extinguisher was removed and a window screen was ripped out. A lock box containing $100 was also removed.

A sentencing memorandum filed by Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Samantha Whetherholt on Nov. 18 states Johnson has spent approximately one-half of his adult life in prison for multiple offenses of violence and continued to engage in ongoing and new criminal activity. The memorandum further states this activity started in 1980 and has led to five separate prison sentences in Ohio for Johnson.

Johnson was ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $597.50 to Grace Baptist Church, $150.16 to Bill’s Enchanted Florist and Gifts and $2,025.00 to Mayflower’s Chinese Restaurant.

Upon his release, Johnson is subject to post release control for a period of three years.

Driver pleads not guilty in vehicular assault case

A man charged in an injury crash from earlier this year pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing held last week.

Adam E. Schwarz, 21, of 1350 Ryan Court, Springfield, pleaded not guilty to a fourth degree vehicular assault charge Nov. 25 stemming from a May 24 crash.

A press release from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office states an investigation into the crash showed Gregory L. Hoffman was driving a motorcycle northbound on North U.S. Route 68 when he stopped to make a left turn onto state Route 296. A pickup truck stopped behind Hoffman.

Schwarz was traveling northbound on North U.S. 68 and failed to see that the pickup truck was stopped in the northbound lane. He reportedly veered left into the southbound lane of traffic and cut back into the northbound lane after passing the truck, striking Hoffman’s motorcycle and taking both vehicles off the right side of the roadway just north of the intersection.

The Urbana Fire Division responded to the scene and transported Hoffman to Grimes Field before he was transported via CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton.

Schwarz was placed on a personal recognizance bond and ordered last week to have no contact with Hoffman.

In addition to the criminal case, Schwarz is a defendant in a civil case where Hoffman is the plaintiff.

A complaint filed in the civil case by Attorney Ronald C. Tompkins, Hoffman’s attorney, states Hoffman sustained traumatic injury as a result of the crash, including brain injury which requires 24-hour care. Tompkins adds Hoffman had to have a tracheostomy to assist him with breathing and has required the placement of a permanent feeding tube.

The complaint states Hoffman is seeking relief in excess of $25,000.

A scheduling conference is scheduled to occur before Magistrate Scott D. Schockling on Jan. 28, 2016.

Driver in vehicular assault case pleads not guilty

By Nick Walton

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Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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