Ohio News Notebook

By Associated Press

Officials: State fair attendance down after deadly accident

COLUMBUS (AP) — Officials say a deadly thrill ride accident on the opening day of this year’s Ohio State Fair contributed to a significant drop in attendance.

Officials said Tuesday that more than 800,000 people attended the fair this year, the lowest number since it switched to its 12-day format in 2004. Last year, more than 920,000 attended.

Tyler Jarrell died from blunt force trauma injuries after being tossed into the air when the Fire Ball ride broke apart July 26. Seven others were injured. Four remained hospitalized last week, including one woman in a coma.

The Dutch manufacturer of the ride says excessive corrosion on a support beam led to a “catastrophic failure.” It ordered similar rides shut down worldwide after the accident.

Actor James Woods seeks dismissal of lawsuit

CHILLICOTHE (AP) — Actor James Woods is asking a court to dismiss an Ohio activist’s defamation lawsuit against him over a comment he retweeted during the presidential campaign season.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Portia Boulger, a Chillicothe resident and supporter of Bernie Sanders, filed the federal lawsuit in March. Boulger is seeking $3 million in damages.

The Twitter account voxday mistakenly identified Boulger as a woman in a Donald Trump T-shirt appearing to give a Nazi salute during a March 2016 rally for Trump. Woods’ account then retweeted the photo and tweet, asking, “So-called #Trump ‘Nazi’ is a #BernieSanders agitator/operative?”

The same day, voxday issued a correction to its original tweet, saying the woman in the T-shirt wasn’t Boulger. Woods tweeted a correction 10 days later.

Murder suspect changes mind about representing self

YOUNGSTOWN (AP) — A Mahoning County man who faces a possible death penalty if convicted of fatally beating a woman in 2015 has changed his mind about representing himself.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reports Lance Hundley made the decision to ask that his court-appointed attorneys be reinstated following a Monday court hearing.

The newspaper says the hearing involved Hundley’s request to suppress a brief statement he made to police the day of his arrest because of an alleged violation of his Miranda rights. A Mahoning County judge granted that request, and the 47-year-old Hundley questioned the detective assigned to his case.

The Vindicator reports the judge then agreed to reinstate the attorneys at Hundley’s request after the hearing.

Hundley has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder in 41-year-old Erika Huff’s 2015 slaying.

1 dead, 4 injured in wrong-way crash

COLUMBUS (AP) — Police in Ohio say one person has died and four others have been hospitalized, including two children, after a wrong-way crash.

Columbus police say 41-year-old Richard Hough was driving the wrong way down a highway ramp in Franklin County on Tuesday when he crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by 63-year-old Betty Griggs.

Griggs was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Three passengers in her car, 38-year-old Amanda Griggs and two girls, ages 8 and 2, were hospitalized in critical condition.

Hough was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

No charges have been filed.

AEP, Ohio strike public recreation land deal

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s natural resources director says the state has struck a deal with American Electric Power that could lead to the state’s most significant public recreation expansion in recent memory.

Director James Zehringer tells The Associated Press that the Department of Natural Resources and AEP signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday opening negotiations on the deal.

Zehringer says the document expresses the state’s intent to purchase a major portion of a 60,000-acre parcel owned by AEP in eastern Ohio, known as ReCreation Land.

He says the land spanning portions of Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum and Noble counties would be used for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich calls the opportunity to obtain and preserve such a large, open expanse rare.

Police: Woman posts video of herself being raped

MARBLEHEAD (AP) — Authorities say a woman posted Snapchat video of herself being raped, and a friend who saw it alerted police.

Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten says he believes the video clearly shows a sexual assault taking place.

He says it’s unclear whether the young woman live-streamed the attack or posted the video shortly afterward.

Police in Danbury Township near Marblehead say they arrested 77-year-old James Allen on a rape charge Tuesday, the day the video was posted.

Allen is being held on a $1 million bond. He appeared in court Wednesday and told a judge he didn’t have an attorney but plans on hiring one.

VanEerten says it appears the woman was impaired while recording the video. He’s asking people to stop sharing it on social media.

Judge to hear ex-treasure hunter’s request to end jail time

COLUMBUS (AP) — An Ohio judge will hear a request by an ex-treasure hunter jailed on contempt-of-court charges to end his imprisonment.

Federal Judge Algenon Marbley has held defendant Tommy Thompson in contempt since December 2015 for violating terms of a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the location of 500 missing gold coins.

Thompson’s attorney argues federal law prohibits holding someone under such conditions for longer than 18 months. Investors in the treasure hunt trying to recoup their money disagree.

Marbley has scheduled arguments from both sides for Aug. 18.

The coins are valued at up to $4 million and were minted from gold taken from the S.S. Central America. It sank in an 1857 hurricane.

Thompson has hinted the coins were turned over to a trust in Belize.


By Associated Press