Local heroes honored for their courage and caring

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local heroes were recognized Friday evening for saving accident victims, preventing a child from drowning, and stopping a man planning to jump from an overpass. “This is a celebration of what we do right in Wood County,” said State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. Wood County has been doing it right for 30 years now by handing out annual Black Swamp Humanitarian Awards. So far, 434 heroes have been recognized. Following is a list of the people honored this year for their heroic acts. Good Samaritan: Tom Wilhelm, Anthony Soto, Larry Miller Jr. and Brian Bonecutter On July 30, Weston EMS was dispatched along with Milton Township Fire Department to an injury accident on Milton Road, with a possible ejection. When EMS arrived on the scene, the crew was greeted by four men who were standing by the cornfield, with a massive debris field seen all over the road. One of the men had called 911 and then the four cleared a spot in the cornfield so the EMS would have clear access to the patient. They led the EMS crew to the patient, who was in the cornfield about 50 feet from the overturned vehicle. The patient was critically injured, alert, but disoriented, and told EMS that she was impaired. She had numerous lacerations, abrasions which were actively bleeding, and a possible arm fracture. Because of her condition, it was difficult to know if she might have had a head injury and other injuries. The four men – Tom Wilhelm, Anthony Soto, Brian Bonecutter and Larry Miller – assisted the EMS with equipment, immobilizing the patient and transferring her to the squad – all prior to the fire department’s arrival on the scene. The accident occurred during Wood County Fair week, when fire and EMS departments are often short-handed. If the men hadn’t stopped and helped, the outcome for the 25-year-old woman might have been much different, EMS Chief Kathy Heyman said. The patient was transported on Life Flight and was expected to make a complete recovery. Good Samaritan: Joe Mettler Jordan Rizziello, then a 16-year-old Otsego student, was on Route 235 when something caused him to swerve and go off the road. He over-corrected and spun into the 12-foot deep ditch. Joe Mettler was headed down the same road, less than a minute later, and noticed something down in the…

Being your own first responder key to surviving active shooter attack

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There’s no place to hide it seems from mass shootings. Bowling Green Sgt. Mike Bengela, a 28-year veteran, gave a presentation on how to survive an active shooter just days after a gunman killed 11 in the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh and another gunman killed two people in a Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. And earlier in the year, 17 died at Stoneman High School in Parkland Florida. Since his talk, the nation was sent reeling again when a gunman killed 12 at a country-western bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Praying, shopping, studying, line dancing — that’s what people were doing when they became targets of armed assailants. Since Columbine in 1999, more that 350 people have died in such incidents. Law Enforcement and safety official have not been standing still. The advice for both people under attack and for law enforcement has changed. Bengela’s talk, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and UBS Financial Services, was based on the ALICE protocol — alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, or a simpler variation — run, hide and fight. Bengela said at Columbine victims took shelter within the library, even though there was a door through which they could have exited. They hid under desks as they had been taught. That made them easy targets. The “kill rate” for “static targets” is “astronomical.” If they had exited, he said they would have headed to a rallying spot. That location was known to the shooters — who he refused to name rather than to give them more notoriety.  They had rigged propane bombs in the trunks of their cars and parked them where they knew people fleeing the building would assemble. But because the watches they used had plastic parts, not metal, the bombs failed to detonate. Otherwise hundreds more would have died. What these killers want, he said, was a high body count. But, as a retired teacher attending noted, police tactics have also changed. At Columbine they waited outside until the SWAT team arrive.  In such attacks, someone dies every 16 seconds. So now officers go in solo to try to stop the vicim. At the Thousand Oaks club shooting, a sheriff’s deputy died doing that.  Each instance has taught law enforcement something. The first option should not be to duck and cover, but to flee. If that’s not possible,…

BGMS teacher resigns amid allegations, police investigation ongoing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Middle School teacher under investigation for possible criminal conduct has resigned. After an executive session this evening, the board of education accepted the resignation of Dylan Stark, an art teacher hired by the district in 2017. Stark’s resignation came after the completion of the school district’s internal investigation into his conduct. The investigation by the Bowling Green Police Division is ongoing, according to Deputy Chief Justin White. After the school board’s vote, Superintendent Francis Scruci explained district officials had been given information from another teacher who had received information from students about Stark. The district followed up on those allegations, and on Oct. 19 Scruci turned the information over to Bowling Green Police Division. At the same time, the district continued its internal investigation. Neither Scruci nor Board President Jill Carr were specific about Stark’s conduct that led to his resignation. However, Scruci said the investigation showed “behaviors that we wouldn’t accept in our district.” Stark, who also coached football, turned in his resignation on Monday. Scruci sent out an email to parents and staff last week asking the community to not spread rumors and to wait for the results of the investigation into Stark, who had been placed on paid leave. “Every individual has rights,” Scruci said. “Rumors are dangerous. We wanted to make sure we protected everyone involved.” Most of the allegations proved to be unfounded, but some were found to be true, Scruci said this evening. Carr said the school board backed the district’s response to the accusations. “The board supports the investigation the district engaged in,” she said. A substitute teacher has been filling in for Stark’s classes. The district will now start the process to hire a replacement, Carr said. Meanwhile, the police will continue looking into the possible misconduct. “It’s still under investigation,” White said this evening.

Gordon sexual assault investigation referred to BGSU, Perrysburg

The Bowling Green Police Division has issued the following news release: On October 12, 2018, the Bowling Green Police Division began an investigation into sexual assault allegations made via social media against former Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon. Investigators of the division spoke with the victim.  The victim advised the alleged incidents took place on the Bowling Green State University campus and in the City of Perrysburg. Therefore, BGPD investigators referred this case to the Bowling Green State University Police Department and the Perrysburg Police Department for investigation.  All further inquiries should be directed to the public information officers from those respective agencies.

BG police host drug take back day

The Bowling Green Police Division National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.  at the Bowling Green Police Division, 175 West Wooster Street. They will accept:  Prescriptions, over the counter pills, vitamins, patches and pet medicine. They cannot accept:  Needles and sharps, liquids, mercury (thermometers), chemotherapy/radioactive substances, oxygen containers, pressurized containers/inhalers and illicit drugs.

After party shooting leaves victim in serious condition

The Bowling Green Police Division is investigating a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours of October 13 at 2055 E. Napoleon Rd., Bowling Green, OH. Shortly after 1 a.m., patrol units were dispatched to a report of a person that had been shot with a handgun after a 911 call came from the residence. The victim, identified as Kyren Palmer, 22, of Cincinnati was transported by ambulance to St. Vincent’s of Toledo where he is listed in serious condition. Patrol units had responded to the residence earlier in the evening for a report of a large party. Responding officers indicated the music was very loud, people were yelling, and they detected an odor of marijuana emitting from an open window of the residence. The gathering was subsequently shut down and a resident was cited for a nuisance party violation. Approximately one hour later, patrol units were dispatched to the same address for the reported shooting. It is reported that there was a physical altercation between Palmer and several other unidentified individuals which led to Palmer being shot in the left abdomen with a 9mm handgun. The scene was processed by Bowling Green PD detectives and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information is urged to contact Det. Brian Houser with the Bowling Green Police Division at 419-352-2571 or Wood County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-54-CRIME (419-352-0077). Callers are eligible for cash rewards up to $1,000 for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of perpetrators of crime.

BGSU 2018 security report available

The annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report is available. It contains: Crime statistics for the previous three (3) calendar years, including reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by BGSU, and on public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus; Campus policy regarding the reporting of on-campus criminal activity as well as facility access; Campus policy for the reporting of off-campus criminal activity; Campus policy and services regarding law enforcement and public safety; Information regarding personal safety and crime-prevention programs; Campus policy regarding the sale, possession and use of alcohol and illegal drugs; Information regarding drug, alcohol and sexual violence education programs and campaigns; Policies and procedures for preventing and responding to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault; Information regarding how residential students can designate a contact person that the University should notify should they be missing for more than 24 hours; and, Fire safety information for on-campus residential facilities, including the number of actual fires, types of fire safety systems, as well as fire safety educational programs.

Cups of coffee and conversations with cops in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Food and beverages bring people together. It’s no different for local police and the public who occasionally meet in the city over cups of coffee, scoops of ice cream and slices of pizza. As patrons came in and got their coffee at Biggby Wednesday morning, they had a chance to share concerns with local police officers. “We’ve had a few discussions about things,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said as he stood holding his first cup of coffee for the day. “Parking is a hot topic.” It didn’t really matter that the police have nothing to do with the rules – other than enforcing them. What mattered was the townspeople and police were talking. “It’s about interaction with the public,” BG Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “People can discuss concerns in a more comfortable environment than calling the police department.” That’s exactly what Bowling Green City Council member Bill Herald wants to see in the police division. “We want to have a police force where people don’t hesitate to call,” Herald said as he talked with Lt. Brad Biller, who was on his third cup of caffeine for the day. “This is what we want in a police department.” The police division holds a “coffee with cops” once or twice a year. The division also held an “ice cream with cops” event at the library last year for younger community members. At Biggby Coffee on Wednesday were five city officers and four Bowling Green State University officers. “We partner all the time on different things,” Hetrick said about the teamwork between the two police departments. “Anytime we have an opportunity to meet the public and have an honest conversation, that’s important,” BGSU Police Chief Mike Campbell said. “We continue to look for those opportunities.” Last week, the campus police gave away about 200 slices of pizza to students in the BGSU union. Herald inquired Wednesday morning about the number of citizens who had mentioned police officers’ fondness for doughnuts. “But the stereotype is true,” Hetrick said with a smile. “I guess that makes it a fact.” Ann Rieman and Kristen Strum came in for coffee – not knowing about the opportunity to share a cup with city cops. Both said they appreciated the effort the police division makes to be a friendly face in local schools. “I know they have had…

BG canine officer used to track escaped juvenile

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The teen who escaped from the Wood County Juvenile Residential Center on Dunbridge Road, Wednesday evening, reportedly used a chair to break out the window of his cell, according to Bowling Green Deputy Police Chief Justin White. Bowling Green Police Division received a 911 call from JRC at 9:31 p.m. An officer was already in the general area, and others joined to set up a perimeter. Bowling Green’s canine officer, Arci, picked up the juvenile’s trail outside the residential center window, and began tracking him north, White said. As police headed north along Dunbridge Road with Arci leading the way, they found the teenager’s orange residential center flip flops. Soon after that, police received a phone call from a resident of the Copper Beach apartment complex, located at the corner of Dunbridge Road and Napoleon Road. The caller said the teen was trying to break into cars in the apartment complex parking lot. Police found blood on a car door handle, then Arci continued to head north along Dunbridge Road. At the same time, a police officer on the east side of Interstate 75 saw the 15-year-old escapee. The teen listened to police commands and was arrested at 10:22 p.m., White said. The boy had cuts on his hands and was taken to the Wood County Hospital emergency department. After being treated, he was charged with escaping from the center, and returned to the facility, White said. The teen’s original charge that landed him in the residential center was theft of a vehicle, White said. The boy, from Henry County, was being held in the juvenile residential center, which holds minors facing felony level offenses from 10 area counties, according to Wood County Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner. “It’s never occurred before,” Woessner said of an escape from the facility. A detention hearing will be held this afternoon for the teen, the judge said.

BG Schools takes steps to make buildings safer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Bowling Green City Schools students went back to school today, they entered buildings that had been made safer over the summer. Superintendent Francis Scruci reported to the Board of Education Tuesday evening that several changes have been made and are in progress to keep students and staff safe from intruders. All school entrance doors have had 3M safety film installed. The change is not visible to the eye, but the film is designed to slow down anyone trying to break through the doors. According to Scruci, the safety film takes about three minutes to break through – which gives people inside the school time to seek safety and notify law enforcement. Ballistic shields have been added to the large windows in the middle school cafeteria. The district also made some changes in the new wing added at the middle school. Rather than have locker bays in the hallways, which give intruders a place to hide, the new wing has all the lockers lining the hallway walls. Also, the outside doors into the new wing are solid – with no windows. “We’ve taken some steps to make that a little safer,” Scruci said. In order make other school entrances more safe, bushes were removed or cut back outside school buildings. The district is in the process of installing indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras at the buildings, he said. Plans are being made with the Bowling Green police and fire divisions to make weekly walks through the school buildings – in addition to unscheduled visits. A security meeting is being planned with school staff, police and fire personnel, to talk about some type of safety training at the schools. That training may be on the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evaluate) system, or some other safety program. Scruci and the district’s head of school building maintenance, Chuck Martin, recently attended a seminar on safety and security. Many of the ideas from the seminar had already been identified and were being worked on at the district’s buildings, Scruci said. Scruci said he will be looking for grant funding for safety measures. However, he added, “if they’re just one-time grants, then the district is going to have to sustain it.” Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci reported on capital improvements made to school buildings during the summer. At Kenwood, the floor of the gymnasium was replaced,…

Murder of Dawn Glanz to be featured on ‘Cold Justice’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s only unsolved murder will be focused on in an episode of “Cold Justice,” a true crime series on Oxygen cable channel on Saturday. The murder of Dawn Glanz, who was found dead in her home on Kensington Boulevard on May 9, 2013, will be examined in the show that attempts to solve cold cases. The autopsy found that Glanz, 66, a professor of art history at Bowling Green State University, suffered a sharp force injury of the scalp and was stabbed by an assailant. “The family approached us when the case stalled out,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. They suggested finding a TV show to profile the cold case. Hetrick said he consulted Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson, and contacted Tonya Rider, a Bowling Green State University professor and retired Toledo detective. They contacted Kelly Siegler, a former Houston prosecutor, who leads the investigations on “Cold Justice.” The TV crew spent several days in Bowling Green in October, filming for the show. The primary Bowling Green police officers featured on the show are Det. Brian Houser and Sgt Scott Kleiber. During their 10 days in Bowling Green, the “Cold Justice” crew re-interviewed witnesses and brought in their own technical experts. Hetrick has viewed the episode and was pleased with its adherence to the truth. “I’ve seen it. It’s very accurate,” he said. “Sometimes these crime shows take licenses – this does not.” Hetrick and the Glanz family are hoping the “Cold Justice” episode jogs some memories. “Hopefully somebody has some information we do not,” Hetrick said. “We’re hoping this will bring some closure for the family and some justice for Dawn.” The family has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading for the resolution of the case. If the case is solved, it would clear up Bowling Green’s sole unsolved murder. “This is the only one we have,” Hetrick said.

BG Board of Education studying school safety options

By JAN LARSON McLBAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City School officials met this week to discuss how to keep students and staff safe. A special meeting was held Tuesday afternoon, with the board going into executive session to discuss safety issues. In addition to the board and superintendent, Police Chief Tony Hetrick, Fire Chief Bill Moorman, plus some teachers and administration members were included in the discussion. “We’re looking at people who are on the ground floor of the issue,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “We want to try to be proactive,” he said. “It’s not something you can put on a shelf and forget about.” Because the discussion took place in executive session, Scruci did not reveal any specific details of the safety plans being considered. “This is going to be an ongoing situation,” he said. “We’re going to continue to look for ways to improve safety.” The district plans to explore grant opportunities that will pay for safety measures, rather than attempting a levy for safety expenses. However, grant funding has its limitations. “The problem with grant money is sometimes it’s only for one year,” Scruci said. The district is studying changes to its buildings as well as personnel for safety. “We will explore every part of our partnership with police to improve the safety,” he said. As the district had the new middle school designed and constructed, new safety measures were put into place. “We looked at the original designs and we made some changes to improve safety,” Scruci said. For example, the locker bays in the new addition do not stick out into the hallway, but rather are straight down the hallways. The new doors to the bus area are solid, not glass. And ballistic shields will soon be installed on the cafeteria windows. “We did things intentionally with the design,” he said. As with the other school buildings, “The Boots” will be installed on each doorway to keep out intruders. Scruci said the district will continue discussing increased safety measures with the police and fire divisions. “We’re fortunate to live in a supportive city.” “Safety is one of those things that’s going to be an ongoing conversation,” Scruci said.

BG police & citizen save life of man in cardiac arrest

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Richard Hill, 54, got to thank three people Monday evening for saving his life. Two are Bowling Green police officers, and one is an apartment resident who initially called Hill, a maintenance man, to help with a leaky dishwasher. On June 11, Hill responded to a maintenance call at Danica Motes’ third floor apartment on South Mercer Road in Bowling Green. Though Motes and her husband were new residents to the city, they had met Hill before when they needed help at their apartment. “Rich is always smiling and happy,” Motes said. But on this day, when Motes opened her apartment door, instead of his customary joke, Hill collapsed in the hallway. “For the first few seconds, I was in shock,” Motes recalled. “I thought he was going to make a joke, but he fell over.” Motes called 911 and was instructed by a Wood County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher how to do chest compressions. When Hill started turning blue, she called 911 again and asked them to hurry. Within a couple minutes Bowling Green police officers were at the scene and took over. “After the police came, I fell apart,” Motes said. Sgt. Michael Bengela and Ptl. Ryan Sehlhorst stepped in, with Bengela doing check compressions and Sehlhorst breathing into Hill. “I kept checking his pulse, and he didn’t have one,” Sehlhorst said. Within one to two minutes, BG Fire Division had paramedics at the scene. They worked on Hill at the apartment building and then transported him to St. Luke’s Hospital. “He was never responsive before they took him in the ambulance,” Motes said. Hill’s wife, Cheryl, said her husband had no serious health problems until that day. “It was out of the blue,” she said. “It was a total shock.” Cheryl Hill arrived at St. Luke’s just as her husband was being taken into surgery, where they put in three stents. “They’re saying he should recover completely,” she said. Her husband is home recovering, and is impatient about getting back to work. “He’s one of those people who likes working,” his wife said. “He’s ready to go. This is really difficult.” Cheryl Hill said she and her husband were glad they had an opportunity to thank the two officers plus Motes during the Bowling Green City Council meeting Monday evening. “We were wanting to meet them all,” she said. “We’re…

Second BGSU football player charged with misuse of BGSU debit card

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS BGSU Police have charged Dirion Hutchins, a Bowling Green State University student and member of the football team, with telecommunications fraud, theft and prohibited acts. The three charges are all felonies. The charges are the result of a police investigation that began after the University discovered irregular charges on debit card accounts designated for athletic book scholarships. A second student and member of the football team, Armani Posey, was charged in June. Posey was found guilty of unauthorized use of property, a misdemeanor, in Bowling Green Municipal Court on July 9 and ordered to pay the University $2,000 in restitution. Hutchins and Posey have been removed from the football team. They may also be held accountable under the student code of conduct. The University will be reviewing its procedures and practices for securing and ensuring proper use of BGSU debit cards. Because the investigation by BGSU Police is still ongoing, the University will have no further comment.

National manhunt continues for 2 men charged with rape and kidnapping of BG sisters

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The national manhunt continues for two men wanted for the alleged rape and kidnapping of two sisters, ages 13 and 14, in Bowling Green. Two other men have been apprehended for the crime. Simon Juan Thomas, 24, from Guatemala, was arrested last week in Bowling Green. David Ramos Contreras, 27, from Mexico, was apprehended Thursday by the U.S. Marshals Service, in Lubbock, Texas. The two suspects remaining at large are Juan Garcia Rios Adiel and Arnulfo Ramos. The four men are charged with the rape and kidnapping of the two girls on June 28, according to Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso. The sisters were staying at Days Inn, in Bowling Green, with their mother. The address listed for the family is Bowling Green. The four men were also staying at the hotel at the time. Police were notified after the mother took the girls to Wood County Hospital. Thomas was arrested by Bowling Green Police the next day. He was charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and is being held in the Wood County jail with a $50,000 bond. Warrants were issued for the other three men. Police received a tip that Contreras was seen at the Walmart in Spring Meadows, in Lucas County, last Saturday, June 30. A store video captured images of Contreras walking with two women. Police were able to locate the women and determined they were not connected to the suspect, Mancuso said. “They believed he needed some assistance,” Mancuso said. “They believed they were doing a good deed helping someone out.” Information was then developed placing Contreras in Lubbock, Texas, after investigators for the U.S. Marshals Service and Bowling Green Police followed leads developed over the last two days. Contreras, who was found hiding under a bed in Lubbock, will be extradited back to Ohio. “He will come back to Wood County to face the charges,” Mancuso said. Nationwide warrants have been issued for the remaining two men at large, and numerous law enforcement agencies, including ICE, are working to find them. The case has received national attention, being posted on CNN news earlier this week. Bowling Green Police Division is receiving calls from across the nation, Mancuso said. “We still are getting numerous tips,” he said this morning. “We’re getting tips from other areas.” Bowling Green police are following up on local leads,…