Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan says it's a criminal investigation that led to his surprise call Sunday to Chief of Police James Nice to resign -- and not the death of a teenager Friday in the backseat of a police cruiser of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Nice delivered a terse 30 word resignation letter around 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Mayor Horrigan told reporters this afternoon he had been informed by police higher-ups that the Chief was part of an investigation involving his nephew, Joseph Nice of Uniontown, who is under indictment relating to his auto sales business. The case involved possible criminal misconduct by Nice, city officials said, including making derogatory comments and inappropriate conduct with city employees.
The City says it will turn the information over to the Summit County Prosecutor, but wouldn't provide more information or a timeline.
Joseph Nice of Uniontown was indicted for grand theft and forgery in March of this year. His criminal case is being heard by Judge Jason Wells in Summit County Common Pleas Court. The nephew Nice is also listed in numerous civil lawsuits in Summit County, including lawsuits alleging fraud and breach of contract for the sale of automobiles through Metro ACC Car Sales on Waterloo Road.
Below is the statement released from the Office of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan regarding the resignation of former Chief James Nice:
Akron, Ohio, August 28, 2017 – Mayor Horrigan formally asked for, and accepted, the resignation of City of Akron Police Chief James Nice effective Sunday, August 27th, 2017. Evidence of conduct unbecoming of an officer, inappropriate contact with a city employee and potential criminal misconduct led him to make this immediate decision. The City will be referring any and all information regarding potential criminal conduct to the County Prosecutor.
Mayor Horrigan stated, “These actions violate the mission, vision and values of the Akron Police Department and the City of Akron and they will not be tolerated. All of us who serve the public must hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. It is clear to me, that in this instance, Jim Nice’s conduct violated that standard, and he lost his ability to lead the department. I will not let anyone impugn the integrity and confidence of our City organization, and I will fiercely uphold that standard as long as I am Mayor of this City.”
Mayor added, “What is also clear to me, is that the men and women of the Akron Police Department acted appropriately and swiftly upon receiving information of misconduct. At every step of the way, investigators put what was right above all else. I have full faith and confidence in the department going forward.”
Mayor Horrigan appointed Major Kenneth Ball as acting Chief of the Akron Police Department, effective August 27th. Ball, an Akron resident, has more than 26 years of service to the Akron Police Department. He joined the Akron Police Department in 1991, was promoted to sergeant in 1997; lieutenant in 2000; captain in 2006; and major in March of 2015. He graduated from the Police Executive Leadership College in 2001, and from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2013.
Mayor Horrigan will work closely with Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Charles Brown and Director of Human Resources Don Rice to select a permanent police chief, in accordance with the Charter of the City of Akron.
Stow police releasing more details of a collision between a train and a dump truck on Monday.
64-year old Darodd Duncan was seriously injured when his Skios Trucking rig was hit while trying to cross the tracks near Middlebury Road by an eastbound CSX train. The impact came on the passenger side. Duncan was transported to Akron General with his injuries.
Multiple tow trucks had to be called in to pull the truck wreckage from the tracks; the locomotive sustained damages as well but was still operating. It took five to six hours for cleanup crews to restore rail service at the scene.
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(Stow PD) On August 21, at 2:53 p.m., Tallmadge Police responded to a train versus dump truck accident on a private road near Middlebury Road. At 4:15 p.m., it was determined the accident actually occurred within the boundaries of the City of Stow. Both the Stow Police Department and Stow Fire Department responded.
The driver of the dump truck, Darodd Duncan, age 64, of Akron, Ohio, was transported to Akron General Hospital (downtown Akron) with serious injuries. No one on the train was injured. The driver of the Skios Trucking vehicle was southbound attempting to cross the tracks when it was struck by an eastbound CSX train on the passenger side. The accident will be investigated by Stow Police and CSX will conduct their own internal investigation.
The locomotive sustained damage to the front of the engine but remained operable. The dump truck had moderate, disabling damage to the cab and sustained damage to the entire vehicle until finally coming to rest. Multiple heavy rescue tow trucks were used to remove the truck from the tracks to avoid damage to the rails.
The Summit County Hazardous Materials Team was notified and responded to provide initial control and cleanup of a fuel and oil leak from the dump truck. The Summit County HazMat truck arrived at 4:41 p.m. and began cleanup operations. Continued cleanup of the site was performed by Sunpro and the EPA was also notified. Stow Fire and Summit County Hazmat Teams cleared the scene at 8:35 p.m. after the truck had been removed from the tracks and towed from the scene
The tracks were closed for approximately 5-6 hours. This crossing has no gates but does have warning signs and is on a private road.
The Cleveland Browns have announced rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will start the Browns preseason game 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday, August 26th in Tampa.
Here is the statement from Hue Jackson:
“This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa. He has made a lot of progress by investing the time necessary to learn our offense, working hard to improve on his fundamentals while also effectively moving the offense in preseason games. Development is so important for a young quarterback, this is the next step he needs to take and he deserves this opportunity. We are very excited about seeing DeShone in the role of starter for this week, as he is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season.
“Much like DeShone, Brock, Cody and Kevin have worked extremely hard throughout training camp and have helped create a very supportive environment in our quarterback room. They’ve pushed each other, worked well together and we expect that to continue.”
Municipal Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. was shot and wounded outside of a Steubenville courthouse at the start of the workday Monday morning.
According to reports, a suspect and another man were seen waiting outside of the courtroom and then approached Bruzzese as he was walking up to the entrance of the building. That's when police say the suspect, whose name has not been released, fired five shots. Judge Bruzzese, who was carrying a gun, fired five shots himself, though it is reported that a probation officer returned fire, killing the suspect on the scene.
Judge Bruzzese was transported to an area hospital with injuries and later Monday morning was reportedly in stable condition.
Police were seen taking a man into the back of a police car, but, in a Facebook Live interview with WTOV-9 Steubenville and other news outlets, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said that this person was not considered a suspect at the time. Sheriff Abdalla added that the man was a passenger in the vehicle with the shooter, and claims that he had no prior knowledge.
The shooter was reportedly due in court that morning, but it wasn't immediately clear for what exactly. Sheriff Abdalla suggested that it was some kind of retaliation shooting, but a clear motive hasn't been established yet.
Steubenville Police and Ohio BCI are investigating.
Summit Metro Parks reporting a rare discovery -- a northern long-eared bat discovered in Twinsburg, the first time they've seen the endangered animal in five years. The northern long-eared bat has been hit hard by white nose disease, a fungus that claimed 90% of the bat population. Biologists attached a small transmitter and let her fly back to a colony she shares with brown bats.
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(Summit Metro Parks) Summit Metro Parks biologists captured a rare northern long-eared bat in Twinsburg earlier this month – the first sighting of the species by park staff in five years – and learned that it's living with a different species of winged mammal.
Biologist Marlo Perdicas said the federally endangered bat was found near Liberty Park. Summit Metro Parks manages 3,000 acres of the park that spans northeast Summit and northwest Portage counties. Much of it is in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township.
"We have not seen a northern long-eared bat since 2012 due to the effects of white-nose syndrome," Perdicas said, referring to a disease that wakes up bats in winter, when there are no insects to consume. The fatal fungus has devastated bat populations across the eastern United States, including Northeast Ohio. "We have about 10 percent of the bats we used to have," Perdicas added.
The northern long-eared bat captured August 10, an adult female, was fitted with a transmitter and tracked back to her roost. "To our surprise, she is roosting with a colony of little brown bats," said Perdicas.
Perdicas explained that sort of grouping is unusual in summer as bats are roosting, but more common during hibernation. Bats hibernate in groups, and summer is coming to a close.
Hibernation for both species begins between September and October and can last as long as May.
The northern long-eared bat's range is the eastern United States and Canada, while the little brown bat's range includes most of North America. Northern long-eared bats, on average, tend to be slightly smaller than little brown bats.
Eight different bat species have been recorded in Summit County: northern long-eared, little brown, Indiana (another federally endangered species), big brown, tri-colored, silver-haired, hoary and red.
Liver disease the reason the Akron Zoo euthanized their Sumatran tiger "Leo" earlier this week. The Zoo had been home for the past couple of years; he was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2011. The tiger exhibit will remain closed for the time being; the Zoo's other tiger Sanjiv is at the Topeka Zoo on a "breeding recommendation."
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(AkronZoo.org) he Akron Zoo is mourning the loss of their male Sumatran tiger, Leonidas, “Leo,” who was humanely euthanized on August 13, 2017. The zoo’s professional Animal Care staff recently observed a change in Leo’s appetite, leading to a comprehensive veterinary medical exam on Thursday, August 10. During his annual physical on June 27, 2017, Leo showed no signs of illness and all his lab work came back normal. However on the August 10 exam, their Veterinary Staff discovered that he had significant liver disease. Leo immediately underwent an aggressive treatment regimen, however he did not respond to therapy and continued to rapidly decline. The difficult decision was then made to humanely euthanize Leo.Leo was born on July 9, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Zoo. He arrived in Akron on March 3, 2015. The Akron Zoo is actively working with the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) and is expecting a placement recommendation soon, but until that time the tiger exhibit will remain closed. The zoo’s other male tiger, Sanjiv, was recently relocated to the Topeka Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Tiger SSP.“Leo was a great cat and a wonderful ambassador for his species,” commented Eric Albers, Animal Curator. “He was very much like a typically finicky cat and would only do what Leo wanted to do and when Leo wanted to do it. However, the staff appreciated him and enjoyed having him in Akron to educate and inspire our community.”
Akron Police are looking for a suspect, and a motive, after a woman found an Akron mausoleum broken into and vandalized.
Rita Day-Lavelle tells News 5 that she was walking past East Akron Cemetery Tuesday and noticed the door to a mausoleum was open. Upon further inspection she saw the lock had been broken. When she looked inside, she saw that a casket had been toppled over, and a man's body was sprawled onto the floor. She tells News 5 that limbs had been broken and the man's head was detatched.
The man, later identified as a World War I veteran, had been buried in the mausoleum 37 years ago. Another crypt was damaged as well.
Akron Police Lt. tells the news outlet that grave robbery could be a possible motive, but they haven't established any suspects yet.
The investigation is ongoing.
An Akron man is charged with Child Endangering after reportedly leaving his toddler locked in the car while he was inside the Jack Casino in Cleveland.
Cleveland Police responded to a call of the young boy locked in the car Saturday night, around 9:30. When they arrived, 28-year-old John Pierre McCallister was reportedly walking through the garage toward the car. He met the police there and reportedly said, "Oh, my bad. I was just coming back to check on him." The report claims McCallister told police his girlfriend had driven them to the casino and that she was inside. He later admitted that she was actually at their Akron home.
Police contacted the girlfriend, the boy's mother, and she told them that she was unaware McCallister was in Cleveland and that she would come pick up the boy.
McCallister appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court Monday and is due back in court next week.
Rescue crews have recovered the body of a missing boater from Lake Milton Wednesday night.
The body of 29-year-old Kyle Alspaugh was pulled from the lake Wednesday after he had gone missing from his boat Tuesday night. A witness, who was fishing on the lake, reports that he noticed the boat driving erratically. He told police he actually heard someone calling for help.
When police arrived, the boat was unmanned and Alspaugh, who hadn't been identified at that time, was missing.
Divers, K-9's, and even drones were used in the search of Lake Milton. After he'd been identified, Alspaugh's family was notified and was on scene at the Lake during the search.
Alspaugh was from East Canton.
Akron Police gave an 89 year old Akron man a new bike today, to replace his bike that was stolen last week.
Thornapple Avenue resident, James Pint, says he was very happy to get the new bike, as his old one was stolen when he parked it in front of the grocery store last week. "It had a lock, but I didn't use it", he explained, noting that there isn't a bike rack in front of the store, so he parked it there unlocked. But, last Thursday, he says, when he was shopping, a store employee told him a kid had just stolen his bike. "I think he was 12 or 13", Pint says.
Akron Police Chief James Nice says after they he got the report about Pint's bike being stolen, they decided to replace it, and while they have often given bikes to kids in the past--he couldn't remember ever giving one away to someone Pint's age. "It's a wonderful thing to see folks still riding bicycles," he says, "especially on a day like today--it's an absolutely beautiful day. You'd hate to be without a bicycle, if you like riding."
As to Pint's reaction to the gift, he says "I'm really surprised, and I thank the police department very much". He adds that he rides about "3 or 4 times aweek and maybe more if the weather is nice", mainly to the grocery store, and to church.
Multiple authorities were contacted about an alleged student-teacher relationship, that had been ongoing for three years. Every investigating agency concluded that despite multiple text messages between the two, there wasn't enough evidence to prove such a relationship.
Now, 36-year-old Laura Lynn Cross, a former English teacher at Buchtel High School, is charged with three counts of sexual battery, stemming from the relationship she carried on with a former student for all those years, and that resulted in her giving birth to the young boy's child. Cross was the boy's eighth grade English teacher, according to records, which is where they first met.
Reports indicate that the teen boy's mother notified school officials, Akron Police, Tallmadge Police, Summit County Juvenile Prosecutors, and more, and got nowhere. Cross even won partial custody of the teenager, which is why he was able to move into her Tallmadge home back in 2013. A News 5 report indicates that the boy's mother didn't fight the partial custody ruling because she didn't want her son to "hate her."
Tallmadge Police Chief Ron Williams says there just wasn't enough evidence to bring charges against Cross during the time of the previous investigation. He says both Cross and the boy were uncooperative in their investigation. In response to the News 5 report, Akron Public Schools tells the TV news outlet they launched their own investigation into the alleged affair last Friday.
Cross is currently in Summit County Jail, being held on $100,000 bond.
A former Canton McKinley H.S. swim coach now says he did have a sexual relationship with a student, and more than once, back when he was coaching her.
Samuel Seiple, 57, says that between May, 2014 and November, 2015, he sexually assaulted the girl who was 16-years-old at the time.
The 8-month-long investigation by the Stark County Sheriff's Office revealed evidence of potentially other victims, but Seiple has only been charged in this case. In court on Monday, Seiple pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a minor. He was sentenced 180 days in jail, but 178 days of the sentence were suspended. The Canton Repository is reporting the judge's thought was that the two days in jail would help Seiple "understand what it's like to be a criminal."
Seiple began working at Canton McKinley in 1994. The Canton City School district says he submitted his resignation on August 11, 2017.
An Akron woman is charged with theft after Summit County Sheriff's Office detectives were tipped off that she was pocketing donations to a victim's charity fund.
Back in July, Inspector Bill Holland says the third party manager of the "Walking For You" charity fund notified his office that something wasn't right with the money. The fund was set up to help the families of the victims of the May 28th accident along South Main Street in Coventry Township that left two teenagers dead and seriously injured another. Natasha Boggs, 24, of New Franklin, was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts involuntary manslaughter, and more, after investigators say she was texting while driving and cross over the marked lines along South Main Street, hitting the group of teens.
After an investigation into the charity fund, Summit Co. Detectives discovered that Melissa Szentes, 40, of Akron, who was volunteering with the "Walking For You" campaign, was taking donations and using them for her own personal gain.
Inspector Holland says that she is currently charged with theft, but more charges are possible, as they aren't sure how much money was actually stolen. The Summit County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who may have donated to Szentes directly to call their office so that they can determine the total amount stolen.
Szentes hasn't been booked yet, as more charges are pending.
An Akron Metro Bus was involved in an accident at Perkins and Goodkirk Streets in Akron Monday morning.
Lt. Rick Edwards with Akron Police says the 61-year-old female driver of the 2007 Pontiac Vibe was cited for running a red light. Lt. Edwards says the driver, whose name hasn't been released, ran the light at Goodkirk and Perkins and hit the driver's side of the Metro RTA bus, causing that bus to flip onto it's side. On the bus were the driver and two other passengers. All three were transported to Akron City Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The female driver, meanwhile, was treated by EMS on the scene and not taken to the hospital.
Akron Metro RTA Communications Director Molly Becker says the driver will be drug tested for their own protection and be placed on paid administrative leave while Metro RTA conducts their own investigation into the crash.