Ohio News Briefs

Cleveland police union backs GOP’s Mandel in US Senate race

CLEVELAND (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel (man-DEHL’) has won the backing of the Cleveland police union a year after the organization drew criticism for its support of Donald Trump.

The Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association announced its support for Mandel, Ohio’s state treasurer, over incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown on Tuesday.

President Steve Loomis says the union’s board voted unanimously to support Mandel because he supports police and represents change in Washington.

Loomis says he wasn’t aware that Mandel faces a Republican primary challenge against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons. Loomis says Gibbons wasn’t interviewed by the union.

The patrolmen’s association angered many Cleveland residents with his endorsement of Trump last year at a time of U.S. Department of Justice scrutiny over the involvement of police in the shooting of black suspects.

Lawyer: Exclude mom’s killing admission due to no translator

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A defense attorney argues that a police interview in which a Chinese woman acknowledged killing her 5-year-old daughter should be excluded from her Ohio murder trial because a Chinese translator wasn’t present at that point.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mingming Chen, of Jackson Township, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of Ashley Zhao. Her body was found hidden in the family’s North Canton restaurant after she was reported missing in January.

The Repository reports prosecutors noted in court on Monday that Chen hadn’t requested the translator’s return when she acknowledged killing Ashley.

Authorities allege that Chen repeatedly punched her daughter and that Chen’s husband, Liang Zhao, tried to revive the girl before helping to hide the body.

Zhao pleaded guilty to charges including obstructing justice and corpse abuse.

GOP lawmaker ends her bid to become Ohio secretary of state

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker has dropped out of the race to become Ohio’s next elections chief, leaving one Republican and one Democrat vying to be elected secretary of state.

Republican Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, of Marysville, said Monday that she’s ending her campaign in the spirit of supporting party unity to keep the Ohio GOP strong.

Two announced candidates are still in the race: Republican state Sen. Frank LaRose, of Hudson, and Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, of Kent. They’re seeking to succeed the current secretary of state, Republican Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted), who is term-limited and running for governor.

Clyde serves on the state ballot board and has often been critical of Husted. LaRose has backed changes to how legislative districts are drawn in an effort to make them less partisan.

Ohio Turnpike plans alerts system for tech-connected cars

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Officials are planning a new system of travel alert information for part of the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland with an eye toward a day when autonomous vehicles might regularly cruise that roadway.

The Plain Dealer reports the Turnpike Commission will use roadside sensors and other technology to produce traffic and weather alerts that could serve self-driving vehicles. For now, the data about factors such as foggy conditions and snowplow angles could serve newer vehicles equipped to receive digital short-range radio signals and display the results for drivers.

The commission approved a $1.46 million contract for the equipment and software.

The technology should be in use by early next year between Amherst and Streetsboro. Turnpike officials say if the results are good, they might expand it along the 241-mile toll road.

2 people killed in evening wrong-way crash

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Two people have been killed following a wrong-way crash on Interstate 675 in Ohio.

Police say the crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Monday in the southbound lanes of the highway in Centerville.

Authorities say the wrong-way driver grazed one vehicle before hitting another vehicle head-on. Both the wrong-way driver and the driver of the car that was struck were killed.

Police say the drivers were both men, but their identities have not been released pending notification of next of kin.

The occupants of the vehicle that was grazed suffered minor injuries.

The highway was closed for six hours following the crash. An investigation into the cause is ongoing.

2 escape injury after botched YouTube stunt near train

FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) — Officials say two people narrowly escaped injury after attempting to record a YouTube stunt as a train approached in Ohio.

Fairborn Fire Battalion Chief Laura Kerr tells WHIO-TV one of the two was thrown to the ground Monday night when the train hit a backpack the person was wearing. Kerr says witnesses told first responders the other person was on the train tracks and rolled off at the last second as the train approached.

Kerr says the train conductors were upset by the incident, and it was lucky no one was pulled under the train.

No information has been released on whether officials will press charges against the two involved.

Somali community in Ohio condemns deadly truck bombing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Members of Ohio’s Somali community are condemning a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital that killed more than 300 people and injured hundreds more.

Somalia’s government has blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, which has not commented on the Saturday attack.

Horsed Noah (HOR’-sed NOH’-ah) is the outreach director of Somali Islamic Centers of Ohio, a group representing six Somali mosques and religious centers in central Ohio.

The Columbus area has the country’s second largest population of Somalis after the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

Noah says his group condemns the bombing, supports Somali’s current government, and calls on people to help victims financially.

Noah says virtually everyone in the central Ohio Somali community has a friend or relative affected by the attack.