A Melrose teenager was killed Wednesday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash that occurred on Ohio 637 in Hoaglin Township.
Robert A. Seffernick, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by Van Wert County Coroner Dr. Scott Jarvis.
According to the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Seffernick was driving a 2002 Chrysler Sebring north on Ohio 637 when he apparently lost control of the vehicle on the snow-covered roadway and slid left of center, where it was hit by a southbound 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by David Simko, 64, of Toledo.
The Jeep overturned and both vehicles came to rest off the west side of the roadway. Both Seffernick and Simko were wearing their seatbelts. Simko was trapped in his vehicle and had to be extricated by emergency personnel who responded to the crash scene. He was then transported with serious injuries to Parkview North Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., by Samaritan LifeFlight helicopter. In addition to wearing his seatbelt, Simko’s front and side airbags also deployed, which helped lessen his injuries.
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash and the investigation is continuing.
Also assisting at the scene were the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Grover Hill Volunteer Fire and EMS, Brickner Ambulance Service, Delpha Chevrolet towing and Straightline Auto Body.
Van Wert independent
Several people appeared for hearings in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
April Franklin, 32, of Bryan, was given 180 days in jail, with credit for 40 days already served, during sentencing on a charge of trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance, a felony of the fifth degree.
Her driver’s license was also suspended for six months.
Dale Wright Jr., 21, of Van Wert, was given three years of community control, including up to six months in the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima, on a charge of illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon into a school safety zone, a felony of the fifth degree.
One person was also arraigned on Wednesday. Kaitlin Russell, 18, of Delphos, pleaded not guilty to a charge of corrupting another with drugs, a felony of the fourth degree. She was released on a personal surety bond and a pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 12.
A Van Wert man also admitted to violating his treatment in lieu of conviction program.
Ryan Miller, 24, admitted he failed to report to his probation office and also failed to complete a counseling program at Westwood Behavioral Health Center in Van Wert. Judge Charles D. Steele ordered a presentence investigation in the case and scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.
Three people also changed their pleas to a variety of offenses during hearings held Wednesday. They include:
- Nicholas Bendele, 31, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing set for 9 a.m. April 16.
- Trey Eberle, 29, of Van Wert, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of drugs, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was originally charged with felony drug possession. Eberle then requested, and was granted, treatment in lieu of conviction.
- Tyler Kast, 21, of Van Wert, changed his plea to guilty to a charge of vandalism, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing scheduled for 9 a.m. April 16.
A Van Wert man also appeared in court to waive his right to a speedy trial.
Robert Stoller, 31, signed a waiver giving up his right to a speedy trial and will request a continuance of his jury trial now set for March 31 on charges of child endangering.
Van Wert Police Dept. information
Brandon S. Turner, 28, of Sidney, faces a number of drug-related charges after he was arrested in Van Wert while in possession of a bulk amount of bath salts.
The Van Wert Police Department conducted an investigation on Tuesday after receiving a tip that the Sidney man was bringing a large amount of bath salts into Van Wert from Sidney. Officers confirmed Turner had arrived in the city and, through the use of a confidential informant, purchased bath salts from him. Officers later located the vehicle Turner was in and, at 11:12 p.m. Tuesday, officers made a traffic stop on the vehicle in the 200 block of North Cherry Street.
Turner, an occupant of the vehicle, was arrested by officers after he was found to be in possession of approximately 20 grams of bath salts, as well as drug abuse instruments.
Brandon Turner was charged with possession of bath salts over the bulk amount, a felony of the third degree; trafficking in bath salts, a felony of the fourth degree; possession of drug abuse instruments, a second degree misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Turner is scheduled to appear in Van Wert Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 6.
The Van Wert City Police Department encourages anyone who may have information about suspected drug activity to call the Van Wert City Police Department Detective Bureau at 419.238.4777 or Crime Stoppers at 419.238.7867.
American Red Cross information
March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the nation’s Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
“Our heroes are our volunteers, our blood donors, people who take our classes or those who make a financial contribution to help us help others here in the Van Wert area,” said Sandy Lane, Community Chapter Executive “During Red Cross Month we thank them and encourage everyone to discover their inner hero by giving time to help people in our community.”
For more than 70 years, all of our country’s presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters of all sizes big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
“Red Cross Month is also a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross. It’s easy,” Lane said. “They can become a Red Cross volunteer, work on a preparedness plan for their household, give blood, or take a Red Cross class.”
The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.
For more information about becoming a volunteer or to donate, please call 800.Redcross or visit the organizaton online at www.redcross.org.
United Way of VW County information
The United Way of Van Wert County has announced that preparations are underway to begin the admissions and review process for 2014. New agencies are welcome to apply.
During April and May members of the Admissions and Review Committee – a committee made up of local volunteers – meets to study funding requests. This committee then makes its funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Trustees in June. Upon approval, agencies are notified by mail of funding decisions.
Any organization wanting to receive an application is encouraged to contact the United Way office at 419.238.6689 to request an application.
The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. Thursday, March 20.
Cooper Farms will sponsor a $1 day at Camp Clay Aqua Park this summer. Local businesses purchase the day for the Van Wert community. Access includes swimming, floating playground, zip-line, paddleboats, and a half-acre beach. To learn more, visit the YMCA website at www.vwymca.org. Shown are (from the left) Camp Clay Aqua Park Director Clint Myers and Kacy Wagner, Cooper Farms representative. (YMCA photo)
VW County Outdoorsmen Assoc. information
Believe it or not, the harsh winter weather will soon be just an unpleasant memory, and the Van Wert County Outdoorsmen Association has several public events scheduled to help usher in the spring season.
This Saturday, March 8, starting at 9:30 a.m., the club will be hosting a Civilian Marksmanship Program sanctioned match. The safety briefing will be held at 9:30 a.m. and the match will start at 10 that morning.
For those area residents who have ever wanted to shoot an M-1 Garand rifle, this is the match to attend. Once participants shoot in the match, they will be eligible to purchase an M-1 Garand from the CMP. For those who do not have a rifle, the club has M-1 rifles to loan to the public for use in this match. However, any military rifle may be used.
The cost to participate is $2, which is a target fee. For those who need to purchase ammo, the club has 30.06 ammo at $20 for 40 rounds. For more information on this event, call 419.203.5419.
On Sunday, March 23, the club will hold its first turkey shoot of the season, starting at 1:30 p.m. The event is for 12-gauge shotguns; however, the club also has several 20-gauge shotguns for use by women and young people.
Shells will be provided at a cost of just $3 per shell. Shooters compete for various prizes, such as frozen turkeys and hams, by attempting to place a single shot closest to the center of a target.
Willshire Lions Club information
WILLSHIRE — The Willshire Lions Club will be sponsoring its annual pancake and sausage day this Saturday, March 8, from 6-11 a.m. at the Lions Club building on State Street in Willshire. Proceeds will be used for various community projects.
The Willshire Lions Club also continually accepts used eyeglasses to be used for Lions Club International projects. Used eyeglasses may be given to any Lion member or may be placed in a donation box at the pancake and sausage event. The Lions Club would like to thank the community for the continued support of various activities.
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners had several pieces of good news to share about its economic development efforts during a meeting held Tuesday.
Commissioner Todd Wolfrum announced on Tuesday that the county has received a $50,000 grant during the eighth round of the Local Government Innovation Fund grant program. The $50,000, awarded by the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Redevelopment and Energy, was the maximum award possible this time around, but only half of the original $100,000 grant request denied by state officials in Round 7.
The denial of the $100,000 grant, due at least in part to other local development officials questioning information in the grant application, was also a spur to the commissioners’ decision to end their participation in the economic development contract with the Ohio State University Extension development program.
Just as important as the grant award to the county development program was the receipt of information from the state recognizing the county office as the lead local economic development agency.
Wolfrum said the designation by JobsOhio, the regional link to the ODSA, of the county development office as the official development link to the state means that all state-generated development leads will now come first to the county office, rather than the OSU Extension program, as had been the case previously.
He added, though, that the OSU Extension program would continue to handle development leads within the city of Van Wert, at least at this point.
VW County Sheriff’s Office information
Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach announced that deputies recently conducted a random address verification on all registered sex offenders for Van Wert County. The sheriff added that Ohio law requires all sex offenders to register in person with the sheriff on a scheduled periodic basis to verify their address, employment, school affiliation, telephone numbers, vehicles, and Internet identities. The in-person periodic verification registrations are scheduled with each offender depending upon their offender risk classification. The offender risk classification mandates that offenders register either every 90 days, every 180 days or once annually.
Sheriff Riggenbach also said Ohio law requires all sex offenders notify and register immediately with the sheriff any change of residential address, place of employment, enrollment in a school or institution of higher education, telephone numbers, vehicles and Internet identities.
According to the sheriff, deputies conducted the most recent random address verification checks between February 24 and 28. Deputies verified the addresses for all 50 registered sex offenders residing in Van Wert County. To complete the random address verifications, deputies went to the residential address of each offender. The random verifications included both adult and juvenile registered offenders.
The good news is that all registered offenders in the county were found to be in compliance with their registration requirements.
Sheriff Riggenbach said the random address verifications conducted last week by deputies are authorized by Ohio law, but not required.
This marks the third time random address verifications of registered offenders in Van Wert County have been conducted in the last year. Sheriff Riggenbach said his office has already prosecuted one registered sex offender this year for failure to register, because the offender failed to timely register a change of address as required by law.
Sheriff Riggenbach stated his office would continue to take the extra steps of random address verification as a matter of public safety to assure an offender’s compliance to make it clear that there is zero tolerance for non-compliance, and added that his office will continue to investigate and prosecute any registered sex offender who fails to meet the legally required sex offender registration requirements.
Sheriff Riggenbach encourages residents to visit the “Sex Offender” page of the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office website (www.vanwertcountysheriff.com). Residents can click the “Sex Offenders” link on the left side of the page to learn more about Ohio’s sex offender laws, and can then click on the “Click Here To” link to search for sex offenders living in their neighborhood or any other area they may be interested in. Residents can also register to receive automatic emails from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office anytime a registered sex offender registers an address within a quarter-mile to 2 miles away from any address the resident designates.
Van Wert independent/submitted information
BOARDMAN — A local firefighter was recently honored for saving the life of a young girl while at a training session.
The Boardman Township Board of Trustees presented Van Wert Fire Captain Craig King with a “proclamation” for his heroic actions on February 25.
On that day, Captain King, who is also the Middle Point fire chief, was attending a Fire Officer II class in Boardman. While on a lunch break, he observed a woman motorist who exhibited signs of panic when she exited the driver’s seat and rushed to the back seat of her vehicle.
Captain King realized that something was wrong and approached the driver to find that her 4-year-old daughter had choked on some food and was not breathing. Captain King immediately removed the child from the car and performed the “Heimlich Maneuver” to clear the child’s airway. The young girl immediately began to breathe.
Captain King’s willingness to intervene and use his training as a firefighter/paramedic allowed him to perform this lifesaving action and most likely saved the child’s life. The Boardman Township trustees, in conjunction with the residents of Boardman Township, wanted to express their warm appreciation and gratitude for these actions by presenting him with a proclamation of recognition.