Local News Archives for 2022-06

WARRANT ISSUED FOR RICHMOND BUSINESSMAN

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted Richmond businessman is being featured Thursday by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.  Matt Jennings appears on the department’s Warrant Wednesday social media page.  Jennings is wanted for three counts of forgery, identity deception, and theft.  He has operated a local mobile home company and has been the subject of several civil suits in recent years.  A couple of years ago, he was charged criminally in northern Indiana after allegedly taking money to move a victim’s mobile home but never performing the service.  When he’s apprehended, Jennings will be held on a $50,000 bond.

CITY ISSUES REMINDER ABOUT FIREWORKS USAGE

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond has issued a reminder about setting of fireworks in advance of the holiday weekend.  Fireworks regulations at both the local and state level are often ignored, but here’s what’s on the books inside the city.  Between now and July 9th, fireworks in Richmond had legally be set off only between five in the afternoon and two hours after sunset.  Sunset  Thursday night is at 9:13.  On the 4th, fireworks times run from 10 in the morning until midnight.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER DOGS FOUND MALNOURISHED, COVERED WITH FLEAS

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon for allegedly neglecting numerous dogs.  A couple of weeks ago, animal control officers checked on six puppies at a home in the 800 block of North I.  The officer allegedly found the puppies malnourished and covered in fleas.  The owner was given a chance to take of the dogs.  But, on Wednesday, the puppies and the mother was found in worse shape than two weeks ago.  The dogs were taken by the officer, and 25-year-old Jo’Naythan Williams was charged with neglect of an animal.

Ohio State Students deaths caused by Fentanyl

A coroner's report has determined that the deaths of two Ohio State University students in May were due to Fentanyl. The reports determined that both 21-year-old Tiffany Iler of Cleveland Ohio and 22-year-old Jessica Lopez of Lawrenceburg Indiana was accidental. Police responded to a 911 call on May 4th in Columbus and transported three OSU students to area hospitals, where Iler and Lopez later died. The third student was treated and released. The same week of the overdoses, Columbus public health and OSU campus safety officials had issued warnings of possible Adderall pills laced with Fentanyl.

Deadline For 21st Century Scholarship Enrollment

Parents of students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades have an opportunity to take advantage of free college tuition for their students. Indiana's 21st Century Scholars program is open to rising 7th and 8th graders. But for those students who finished 8th grade this year, the sign-up deadline is tomorrow. The program provides up to 4 years of undergraduate tuition to students who are income eligible. 50 schools across the state welcome the scholars, including Indiana University and all its regional campuses, Ball State, Purdue University and all its regional campuses, and Earlham College. The program requires students to maintain a certain GPA and meet specific requirements. Parents wanting information, or to enroll their student, can to to learnmoreindiana.org/scholars/enroll.

4th of July Travel to be 2nd Busiest in Over 20 Years

The upcoming 4th of July weekend promises to be the 2nd busiest travel weekend the U.S. has seen since 2000, according to AAA and the website travelpulse.com. Despite record high gas rates and rising airfare prices, the forecast is that more than 47.9 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home. That's 3.7% higher than last year and falls just shy of 2019's pre-pandemic high. While air-travel is expected to be down overal, for local travelers who are expecting to fly out of one of our area's three nearby airports - Dayton, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, you are advised to "stay ready" to adjust your travel plans. The rate of flight cancellations and delays due to pilot and staffing shortages are causing massive delays and cancellations across the U.S.  Travelers are being advised to download and install their intended airline's app on their smartphones so that they can be alerted to changes as soon as possible and have as much advance warning as possible to re-book flights. Yesterday saw 12 cancelled flights and 33 delays at our three area airports. Friday July 1st, looks to be the busiest day for air travel, while Monday July 4th is likely to be the least busy for fliers.

Pro-Choice Rally Held at Wayne County Courthouse

The Indiana State Legislature is set to return to Indianapolis for a special session called by Governor Eric Holcomb on July 6th. And while the main order of business is the proposed $225 taxpayer refund, Republican Party leaders have indicated that they will take up the abortion issue in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down Roe vs Wade. Locally, pro-choice supporters turned out earlier this week at the Wayne County Courthouse to protest the court's rulling. About 100 protesters gathered at the courthouse, then marched along south 3rd and South A streets, where additional supporters joined. The Rainbow Richmond community group organized the rally and passing motorists honked in support of the protest. Two anti-abortion protesters also rallied, but were escorted away after clashing with a few of the pro-choice supporters. 

Motorcycle Crash on US 35 Kills Winchester Man

An update on the single motorcycle accident that closed US 35 yesterday near Economy.  The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has identified the man killed in the crash as 39-year-old Josh Hufnagle of Winchester.  Hufnagle had actually been reported missing since the early-morning hours of last Sunday. The investigation determined that Hufnagle's Harley Davidson motorcycle was traveling southbound on US 35, northwest of the intersection of 35 and Jacksonburg Road. He went off the northeast side of the road and into an embankment before coming to rest in a wooded area alongside the road. The Sheriff's office said speed was likely a factor. Hufnagle was pronounced dead at the scene and the investigation of the crash is ongoing.

3 Arrested in Eaton Drug Investigaton

Three people were arrested yesterday during an investigation in Eaton, Ohio that ultimately resulted in the Dayton Bomb Squad being called to respond.  During a drug-related search, officers discovered a possible pipe bomb, and the Dayton Bomb Squad was called to the scene as a precaution, according to Eaton Police Cheif Steven Hurd.  During the search, officers located multiple drugs, drug paraphernalia and guns.  Dale Letner, Gilbert Contreras III and Mona Hyde were arrested and booked in the Preble County Jail on drug-related charges.

WOMAN HOLDS INTRUDER AT GUNPOINT UNTIL POLICE ARRIVE

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond woman took matters into her own hands Monday when she found a man in her daughter’s apartment who was not supposed to be there.  It happened in an apartment above Smiley’s in downtown Richmond.  Cathy Hillard walked in and found the man inside.  Hillard held him at gunpoint herself until police arrived.  39-year-old Daniel Angel was taken into custody and charged with residential entry.  Angel was convicted of residential entry three years ago.  He also just got out of jail last month after pleading guilty to battery resulting in bodily injury.  Hillard was not hurt.

MAN CAPTURED FOLLOWING FOUNTAIN CITY CHASE

(Fountain City, IN)--A Wayne County man is facing a long list of charges following a police chase in the Fountain City area on Monday.  A man later identified as 27-year-old Austin Harrison allegedly entered Fountain City driving recklessly on a motorcycle.  According to scanner traffic, police chased Harrison and were able to taser him, but he continued to flee.  He was eventually caught in a back yard near U.S. 27.  Charges include possession of cocaine, OWI, and reckless driving.  He is also wanted in Jackson County on drug charges.

INVESTIGATORS RELEASE IMAGE OF SERIAL VEHICLE BURGLAR

(Franklin County, IN)--Franklin County investigators now have surveillance images of the man who they believe is responsible for numerous vehicle break-ins across the county in recent months.  Now, they’re asking for the help of the public in putting a name to the face.  It’s a clear image of the man making a purchase at a convenience store.  Meanwhile, investigators are reminding residents to lock their cars at night and take valuables inside.

GAS DROPS BELOW $5 AT SOME AREA STATIONS

(Whitewater Valley)--Gas prices remain through the roof, but they’ve actually dropped quite a bit in our area since this time last week.  According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas Monday morning in Wayne County was $5.10.  This time a week ago, the average price was $5.21.  Union County, which last week had the third-highest price in Indiana, has dropped from $5.27 to $5.15.  And, you can actually find gas below five dollars again.  The average in Darke County Monday morning was $4.93.

JAIL STAFFERS CREDITED WITH PREVENTING TRAGEDY

(Wayne County, IN)--Accolades poured in over the weekend for two Wayne County jail officers who were credited with preventing what could have well turned into a tragedy.  Corporal Collin Hargis and Deputy Jim Bumbalough were driving on I-70 when the saw a vehicle weaving.  The vehicle exited at Centerville, but then tried to very slowly go the wrong way down the exit ramp.  Hargis got out, ran ahead, and got the driver to stop before he could get onto the interstate going the wrong way.  The driver was elderly and was suffering from a medical incident.

NEW PARIS MAN IDENTIFIED AS VICTIM IN FATAL CRASH

(Preble County, OH)--Investigators over the weekend identified the person who was killed in a Preble County crash on Friday night.  27-year-old Aaron Whitesell of New Paris lost control of the car he was driving on State Route 122 near Camden.  First responders arrived to find power lines wrapped around the vehicle.  Whitesell was pronounced dead at the scene.  There’s no word on what caused him to lose control.

POWER RESTORED TO SOME, BUT HUNDREDS STILL OUT THURSDAY NIGHT

(Richmond, IN)--Hundreds of Richmond residents withstood another day in the heat and humidity Thursday without air conditioning or even the capability of running a fan as power remained out to hundreds of customers across the city.  According to RP&L’s outage map, there were still 360 customers out in the city’s four quadrants and another 236 out in unknown areas at 6 o’clock Thursday night.  All of those people have been without power since storms rolled through the area on Monday night.  Power was restored Thursday afternoon in one of the more heavily affected area of South 6th.  There has been no estimate of when the remaining people still in the dark will have their power restored.  The storm that struck the Whitewater Valley on Monday night was officially classified Thursday by the National Weather Service as a derecho.  Derechos are fast-moving storms with microbursts that create wind gusts of at least 57 miles per hour.  It was followed by three straight days of temperatures in the 90’s and included a record-high temperature of 93 in Richmond on Tuesday.

FAMILY OF FIVE ESCAPE HOUSE FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--Fire broke out at a home in Richmond early Friday morning.  The smell of smoke awoke the residents of a home in the 300 block of South West 3rd at about 2 o’clock Friday morning.  "There was smoke coming from the back of the house," said Batallion Chief Charlie Bartlett in describing what firefighters encountered when they arrived.  The fire appears to have been electrical in nature.  "There were five people living there.  The Red Cross was contacted for them to stay somewhere else," Bartlett added.  No injuries were reported.  Damage was set at $10,000.

MAN JAILED FOR SEXUAL BATTERY FOR SECOND TIME IN TWO YEARS

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man with a warrant for sexual battery was taken into custody at his home on North 16th on Thursday.  For 57-year-old Jess Deatherage, it’s his second sexual battery arrest in the last two years.  The last case was pled down to battery and resulted in Deatherage spending three days in jail, according to Odyssey online records.  Details of what Deatherage is alleged to have done this time have not been released.

SOME RICHMOND RESIDENTS STILL WITHOUT POWER THURSDAY

(Richmond, IN)--Some Richmond residents are continuing to battle excessive heat with no power in their homes.  Those outages have existed since storms with high winds rolled through the area on Monday night.  RP&L indicated on social media late Wednesday night that they’re making progress, but there are still several areas to restore.  All main circuits in the city were restored Wednesday.  Some homes are requiring work from private electricians before power can be restored.  Crews from several cities in Indiana remain in Richmond to help get power restored.

RCS BOARD FIELDS MORE CRITICISM

(Richmond, IN)--The Richmond Community School Board met Wednesday night and again got an earful about the relationship between the Board, the superintendent, and teachers and staffers.   One of the people who addressed the Board was a former Board member herself, Linda Morgason.  "We are losing out on excellent educators.  I don't know how you expect to replace them," Morgason said.  Then, REA leader Kelly McDermott ignored time limits and touched on numerous issues, including insurance and programming.  "Teachers watch respected, highly competent, and valued leaders demeaned and demoted.  The chaos that so many unexplained changes created was a climate of fear and mistrust," McDermott said.  The Board did not respond in accordance with public comment policy.

REWARD REACHES $3500 IN CEMETERY VANDALISM CASE

(Cambridge City, IN)--Back in early April, Capitol Hill Cemetery in Cambridge City was struck by vandals.  Numerous tombstones that had been there for decades – if not more than a century – were toppled or destroyed.  Now, there’s a substantial reward in place for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible.  $3500 has been raised as a reward.  Tippers can call a national tip line and remain anonymous.  The number to call is (800) 782-7463.

SOME AREA RESIDENTS STILL WITHOUT POWER WEDNESDAY

(Richmond, IN)--By Wednesday morning, it had been more than 36 hours since storms rolled through the area and knocked out power to thousands, and some wre still without power.  And, the outage came when Richmond approached its record daily high of 92 on Tuesday.  "Due to the severity of the storms, RP&L has brought in addition crews from Lebanon, Scottsburg, and Washington, Indiana to assist," said the message from RP&L on its phone system Wednesday morning.  RP&L is not saying what specific areas remain out this morning, but did say this.  "We will continue to work to get everyone's power restored as quickly as possible.  However, we do not have any specific area ETA's at this time."  One area still affect by outage Wednesday morning was South 7th and 8th Streets in Richmond.  Whitewater Valley REMC and Duke Energy’s outage maps showed nearly full restoration Wednesday morning.

WHITEWATER VALLEY REMC WARNS OF POTENTIAL ROLLING BLACKOUTS

(Liberty, IN)--Whitewater Valley REMC on Tuesday issued a statement about the possibility of rolling blackouts.  They say the issue has to do with the transition to renewable energy sources that can be affected by extreme heat or cold.  If the situation becomes critical, residents would first be asked to cut back on demand.  If that doesn’t work, Whitewater Valley REMC said that they may be instructed to begin rolling blackouts that could last anywhere from half an hour to four hours.  They say that they themselves may have little notice about the need for the rolling blackouts.

PROBABLE CAUSE FOUND IN ALLEGEDLY OWI FATALITY

(Richmond, IN)--An initial hearing was held Tuesday for a Connersville man accused of driving drunk and causing the death of a pedestrian near Cambridge City early this month.  Robert McKinney was sent to the Wayne County Jail Tuesday after a judge found probable cause in the case.  McKinney is accused of striking and killing Levi Cregar, who was walking along State Road 1.  A bench trial was set Tuesday for August.

HUNDREDS OF AREA RESIDENTS STILL WITHOUT POWER TUESDAY MORNING

(Whitewater Valley)--Large trees that had stood in Richmond neighborhoods for decades were uprooted late Monday afternoon as a strong storm rolled through.  Richmond reported wind gusts of around 55 miles per hour.  Large trees went down into power lines, and that caused outages across the city.  After the storm passed, RP&L reported that almost 2000 customers were without power.  Whitewater Valley REMC had another 1800 customers out.  By 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, REMC’s website still indicated about 550 people still out in Wayne and Union County.  RP&L still had crews out at 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, but could not put a number on the amount of outages.

ROBBER STRIKES RICHMOND BANK

(Richmond, IN)--A bank robber struck the Chase Bank on Chester Boulevard in Richmond Monday afternoon.  At 3:30 yesterday, a man who is described as a white male in his 50’s, about 5-6 and with a slender build, handed a teller a note stating that he had a gun and demanding money.  No weapon was displayed.  He then fled with money that had been placed in a canvas bag.  It’s not known if he fled on foot or got into a vehicle.  No injuries were reported.  You're asked to call Richmond police if you can help identify him.

WORLD WAR II PLANE MAKES EMERGENCY LANDING

(Connersville, IN)--A World War II-era plane had to make an emergency landing at the Connersville airport Monday afternoon.  Fayette County received a message from a central Indiana air traffic controller that the plane had an engine fail and needed to make an emergency landing.  Numerous fire and ambulance personnel responded and the plane landed without incident.  The aircraft is a flying museum that showcases the Berlin Airlift that occurred after World War II.  First responders were given a tour after the landing.

AREA GAS PRICES RISE AGAIN; UNION COUNTY AMONG STATE'S HIGHEST

(Whitewater Valley)--Gas prices have risen seven cents since Monday of last week in Wayne County.  The average price of a gallon of gas on Monday in Wayne County is $5.21, according to AAA.  Union County now has the highest average price in Indiana with the exception of two Chicago-area counties.  Union County is at $5.27.  Our area's "cheapest" gas is in Darke County at $5.04.

INVESTIGATORS RELEASE IMAGE OF PORCH PIRATE

(Preble County, OH)--The Preble County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public for help in identifying a porch pirate who they say has already struck numerous homes in the Monroe Township area.  In one case, he stole a child’s new swimming pool from a home on US 127 that had just arrived for a young girl.  He drives an old, two-tone green pickup and there’s clear video of that truck and of him walking up to one porch and removing a box.

RANDOLPH COUNTY MAN, ORIGINALLY CHARGED WITH MURDER CONSPIRACY, SENTENCED

(Winchester, IN)--More than two years ago, a man in northwest Randolph County was allegedly tied up with rope and tape, had a bag placed over his head, throw into a van, and driven to a place where he would be buried.  Now, one of two men originally charged with conspiracy to commit murder has been sentenced.  30-year-old Michael Mullens has pled guilty to criminal confinement, but numerous other serious charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.  Those charges included battery and kidnapping.  Mullens was sentenced to time already served and is now free.

PREBLE COUNTY PORK FESTIVAL IS ON AGAIN

(Eaton, OH)--This year’s Preble County Pork Festival had been cancelled indefinitely earlier this spring.  But now, after a meeting Thursday night, it’s on again.  The festival board will hire the promotion company RMJG Events to work with the board to get the festival back up and running.  The county will put up $100,000 to jumpstart it, while RMJG will put in another $100,000.  A three-year deal is in the works to keep the festival running through at least 2024.  The Preble County Pork Festival, which draws tens of thousands annually, is now set for the third full week of September.

COURTHOUSE REPAIRS TO COST AT LEAST $1.3 MILLION

(Richmond, IN)--Estimates to repair the Wayne County courthouse have come in and none of them are under a million dollars.  The courthouse is now 139 years old and is need of exterior work that includes replacing damaged limestone blocks and repairing numerous cracks.  Four bids range from $1.3 to $2.1 million.  The county has budgeted a total of $3 million for the project.  Quotes were referred to a committee for recommendation.

STUDY: RICHMOND INEXPENSIVE COMPARED TO STATE, NATION

(Richmond, IN)--Results of a newly released study show that living in Richmond is very inexpensive when compared to the rest of Indiana and the rest of the country.  A bill-paying company called Doxo breaks down bill payments into ten categories, including utilities, car payments, and mortgages.  The report states that Richmond residents pay – on average - $1607 per month on the ten most common household bills.  That’s 20% lower than the Indiana average and 36% lower than the national average.

TRUCKER RESPONSIBLE FOR FOUR KIDS' DEATHS IN WAYNE COUNTY SENTENCED

(Richmond, IN)--The Camden man who caused the death of four kids on I-70 in Wayne County two years ago was sentenced Wednesday to 45 years in prison.  Corey Withrow was driving his semi through Wayne County while he was high on methamphetamine and fentanyl when he crashed into the back of a Kansas City family’s vehicle that had slowed for construction.  "It was a very hot fire...just a terrible scene that stretched over a hundred yards," said John Bowling with the Indiana State Police.  The four kids were between the ages of 6 and 15.  Withrow has a lengthy criminal history.

SUSPECTED TORNADO STRIKES DARKE COUNTY

(Darke County, OH)--A suspected tornado struck Darke County Wednesday night.  It struck just east of Arcanum as a line of storms rolled through.  Ron Kelley was traveling on State Route 49 and tried to beat it.  "I saw a tornado forming and thought I could get by it.  That was an error in judgement," Kelley said.  Kevin Shawler was nearby and saw it happen.  "I saw (Kelley's vehicle) flip over probably four to six times," Shawler explained.  The National Weather Service will be in Darke County Thursday to help assess the damage and rate the tornado’s strength.  No injuries were reported.

PORK FESTIVAL'S FUTURE TO BE DISCUSSED AT MEETING

(Eaton, OH)--Thursday night is a highly anticipated meeting of the Board of the Preble County Pork Festival.  Back in April, the Board announced that the festival, which attracts tens of thousands each summer, had been suspended this year due to factors that include increasing costs and a lack of volunteers.  That announcement sparked public outcry and calls for intervention.  Some proposals were made last month.  Details of those proposals will be discussed at Thursday night’s meeting at the Preble County Fairgrounds.

WOMAN DEAD, HUSBAND INJURED IN HELICOPTER CRASH

(Darke County, OH)--One person was killed and another was seriously injured when a helicopter crashed just south of Greenville Tuesday morning.  The helicopter crashed and caught fire at the Hogpath Road home of its owners, Charles and Krista Zimmer.  It burst into flames.  First responders were initially unable to reach the victims due to the intensity of the fire.  "I've got a fire extinguisher in my truck but I'm afraid it's not gonna be good enough.  It's too hot for me to get over there," said one responder to a dispatcher.  Charles Zimmer was pulled from the burning helicopter and taken to Miami Valley Hospital.  His wife, Krista, was dead at the scene.  Neighbors say the Zimmers would often take off and land at their home, which is in a rural area.

SCHOOL SYSTEM TO INVEST $100,000 IN SECURITY CAMERAS

(Franklin County, IN)--One area school is making a big investment with the hope of increasing security for students and teachers.  Franklin County Community Schools will invest $100,000 to purchase and install new security cameras at all five Franklin County schools.  The county will own and maintain the cameras, but they will be monitored by school personnel.  The money for the cameras comes from a FEMA grant.

MURDERER SENTENCED TO 48 YEARS

(Hagerstown, IN)--A Wayne County man has been sentenced to 48 years for shooting and killing his neighbor during a property dispute.  At age 78, Billy Wilson Senior will not see freedom again as the result of the death of KC Allen Simpson a year and a half ago.  It happened on North Brick Church Road near Hagerstown and was the culmination of numerous disputes that generally centered on the property line between the two men’s homes.

9th STREET TO CLOSE IN UPTOWN RICHMOND

(Richmond, IN)--Getting around uptown Richmond has been difficult due to ongoing construction.  Now, for at least Tuesday and maybe longer, it is going to be a lot more difficult.  INDOT announced Monday that it will completely close 9th Street Tuesday between North and South A to repair a collapsed sewer line.  The official detour will take northbound traffic east all the way to 16th Street.  INDOT said the closing should be in effect only for Tuesday, but is dependent on weather.

PFLUM FAMILY SEEKS SENDER OF ANONYMOUS ENVELOPE

(Connersville, IN)--The family of Denise Pflum – the Connersville teen who went missing back in 1986 – recently received an anonymous manila envelope that they say contains sensitive information about Denise’s case.  Now, they’re asking for the sender to come forward.  The family said that it’s imperative that they speak with the sender so that the envelope’s contents can be examined appropriately and that follow-up questions can be addressed.  They were not specific about what the envelope contained.  A man charged in connection with Denise’s death is now dead, but many investigators believe others were involved and have gone unprosecuted for 36 years.

VANDALS DO $5000 IN DAMAGE TO HIGHLAND LAKE GOLF COURSE

(Richmond, IN)--Police are working to identify and arrest whoever caused thousands of dollars in damages at Highland Lake Golf Course.  Vandals targeted the 14th and 16th greens, which are close to Cart Road and away from the clubhouse by spray-painting some nasty graffiti.  Crews have worked to remove and then plug the damaged areas.  Damage has now exceeded $5000.

FAYETTE COUNTY INMATE WHO ESCAPED IN 2016 ESCAPES AGAIN

(Connersville, IN)--A man who once escaped from Fayette County has done it again.  Six years ago, John Curtsinger cut off his ankle bracelet while taking part in a work release program.  He was eventually captured.  After he was released, he was convicted of four other felonies and was back behind bars.  Sunday, Curtsinger was taken to the emergency room.  There, he once again cut off his ankle bracelet, fled, and was still on the loose Monday morning.  His recent crimes include drug possession and theft.

LIFEGUARD SHORTAGE FORCES WEEKEND POOL CLOSURE

(Richmond, IN)--Cordell Municipal Pool in Richmond is in serious need of lifeguards.  Earlier this week, the Richmond Parks Department put out a public call for more lifeguards and offered several free perks in addition to an $11-per-hour wage.  On Thursday, parks officials announced that the pool would have to be closed all day both Saturday and Sunday.  That’s because many of the teens that are working as guards will be involved in the RHS graduation and there simply are not enough other guards to be able to open the pool.

NEW MOTIONS FILED IN CASE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT THAT CAUSED FATAL CRASH

(Wayne County, IN)--Several court entries were added Thursday in the case of the illegal immigrant who killed a Liberty man on Pottershop Road in Wayne County last month.  Recently, Rafael Lopez’s pastor told Wayne County court personnel that Lopez had been in the custody of immigration agents and given the choice of deportation or jail time.  The pastor indicated Lopez had chosen deportation.  Thursday, a motion was filed for increased bond and for an initial hearing.  The initial hearing has been set for June 21.  Lopez’s whereabouts Friday morning were unknown – at least from a public records standpoint.  He is not in the Wayne County Jail.

SOME RICHMOND STATIONS TOP $5 PER GALLON GAS

(Richmond, IN)--You knew it was coming, and now it’s here…five-dollar-per-gallon gas in the Whitewater Valley.  Not only has gas reached five dollars at some local stations; at several places it has gone significantly higher.  At least one Richmond station was at $5.16 per gallon Friday morning.  AAA’s website Friday morning still put Wayne County’s average at $4.88.  Franklin County has the area’s highest average at $4.92  For comparison, a year ago today Wayne County’s average gas price was $2.98.

WAYNE COUNTY JAILERS EXPOSED TO FENTANYL DURING BOOK-IN

(Richmond, IN)--An arrest late Wednesday night illustrates some of the relatively new dangers that law enforcement officers face.  Police were called to a trailer park on U.S. 40 between Richmond and Centerville on the suspicion of drug activity.  There, they found 42-year-old Jeremy Turner.  Turner had a Fayette County warrant and was taken into custody.  As he was being booked into jail, heroin and fentanyl were allegedly found in Turner’s shoe.  Exposure to the fentanyl caused to jail staffers to be checked out medical.  It also added the charge of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon to the list of Turner’s new drug charges.

STRONG STORM KNOCKS OUT POWER TO THOUSANDS

(Whitewater Valley)--Power has been restored after a strong storm caused a widespread outage Wednesday night in western Wayne County.  More than 2000 customers of Duke Energy were in the dark until around midnight.  That storm, which was rated as severe by the National Weather Service at around 7:30 Wednesday night, also dumped heavy amounts of rain in Fayette County.  High water there forced the closure of a couple of lesser-traveled county roads.  Those roads remained closed Thursday morning.

MAN ARRESTED FOR STRANGULATION, BATTERING CHILD

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond man is facing several serious charges as the result of a domestic incident on North West 15th Street Wednesday morning.  Police were called there at around 10 o’clock.  35-year-old Bradley Powell is now charged with strangulation and domestic battery against a child under the age of 14.  There’s been no word so far on the condition of the alleged victim or victims.

AREA GAS PRICES RISE AGAIN

(Whitewater Valley)--On Tuesday, Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point reported that Wayne County’s average gas price had actually come down slightly in the last ten days.  That didn’t last long.  According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in Wayne County took a jump later Tuesday – up 19 cents to $4.74.  All other area counties saw a similar increase.  The most expensive gas in the Whitewater Valley Wednesday morning was in Franklin County, where it was $4.77.  The cheapest was in Butler County, where it was $4.53.

PASTOR TO NOTIFY COURT OF RESULTS OF DEPORATION HEARING

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the court entry that raised lots of eyebrows Tuesday.  The entry involved Rafael Lopez, who was in the country illegally and caused a crash that killed a Liberty man last month.  The entry said that Lopez was taken by immigration officials and given a choice between deportation and jail.  Now, here’s more.  The person who gave the court that information was Lopez’s pastor.  The pastor told the court that Lopez was to have had an immigration hearing on Monday of last week in central Indiana to determine if he would be deported or not.  The pastor further advised that she would let the Wayne County court know the outcome of that hearing.  So far, no notation about the outcome has been made.

WOMAN TO ADMIT TO RICHMOND MURDER

(Richmond, IN)--A Richmond murder case appears to be headed to resolution without a trial or a plea agreement.  The murder happened a year and a half ago at the Cozy Garden Inn on Commerce Road.  A man was shot in the back of his head as he slept in a room there.  Now, the girlfriend of that man, who is from New York, has notified a Wayne County court that she will plead guilty to the murder charge.  She had admitted to the killing during a polygraph exam.  The 52-year-old suspect will be sentenced to at least 45 years in prison following her guilty plea.

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