Bank robber on the lam; Toledoan uses fake papers to flee prison

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

CRANSTON, R.I. — A convicted bank robber from Toledo fooled prison authorities here into letting him go by giving them fake release papers he had printed on a prison computer, federal authorities said.

Within five hours of walking out of prison, they said, Scott Kelly Hansen had returned to his life’s work: He robbed another bank.

Local officials believe Hansen, who disappeared Friday, is headed back to Toledo, where he has been convicted of robbing four banks and is charged in at least three other robberies.

“This is a phenomenal set of circumstances, especially knowing Scott,” said Dave Harlow, the supervisory deputy in the U.S. Marshal’s Toledo office. “To be honest, I didn’t give him credit for being this bright. Scott was just an average Joe.”

Hansen, 38, had been in federal custody in Rhode Island since being captured in a Warwick, R.I., hotel room on June 6. He had been the subject of a manhunt by federal, state, and local officials after a three-month spree in which he allegedly robbed at least four banks in northwest Ohio and three more in Rhode Island.

After his capture, Hansen had formal charges in six of those robberies and had the prospect of a possible prison sentence of 80 to 100 years.

But he saw a way to avoid doing time. According to federal authorities, this is how he walked out of Rhode Island’s Adult Corrections Institute, a maximum-security prison:

Hansen gained access to a prison computer, probably one in the medical unit in which he worked, Mr. Harlow said.

Having spent years in the federal court system, Hansen knew what a federal court order looked like. On the computer, he forged an order from U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres releasing him.

On Friday morning, Hansen was in a prison common area where inmates spend some of their day. Inmates are allowed to use a bank of telephones there, but they cannot call other phones in the prison.

One exception is allowed, though: inmates can call a special investigative unit housed inside the prison that checks allegations of criminal activity in the institution. Officers in the unit rely on prisoners’ tips to do their work, so prisoners are allowed to call them. Such calls are recorded.

Hansen called the investigative unit, pretended to be a federal marshal, and said he had “accidentally” called the unit. He asked the person who answered the phone if he could be transferred to the record division, which he said he had meant to call.

The call was patched through.

Once he was talking to a clerk in records, Hansen pretended that he was John Leyden, who is the U.S. marshal for Rhode Island.

He asked if one Scott Kelly Hansen had been released yet. When the clerk said no, “Mr. Leyden” said one of his deputies had left the release papers in a nurse’s station at the prison, according to Mr. Harlow. Hansen apparently had access to the nurse’s station and had left the fake court order there.

Hansen included a forged memo from a court officer dictating the terms of Hansen’s bail.

The clerk, whose name has not been released, found the papers, which featured a court seal and Judge Torres’s forged signature. The clerk then signed the release paper.

At 2:30 p.m., Hansen walked out of prison.

“It was very well thought out,” Mr. Harlow said.

Prison officials did not notice the ruse until local police received evidence that Hansen had returned to his life of crime. Undisguised, Hansen robbed a Rhode Island bank of about $7,000 just five hours after walking out of prison, authorities said.

Only after an officer viewing a surveillance tape of that robbery recognized Hansen did anyone check to see if he was still in custody.

Now, Hansen may be headed back to his hometown, Toledo.

“My experience with Scott Hansen is that this is where he comes,” Mr. Harlow said. “He has family, friends, a support system. There’s a good chance he’s coming back.”

He said that the U.S. Marshal’s office has contacted dozens of people who have had contact with Hansen in the past, in the hopes that one of them might call authorities if they see him.

Toledo police and the FBI are on the lookout.

Hansen has been a familiar face to Toledo law enforcement agencies for almost three decades. His rap sheet traces his criminal activity to age 11. He admitted robbing a Huntington National Bank in 1984, a holdup for which he was sent to prison.

Two months after being released in 1991, he admitted to robbing three more banks.

During the prison term that resulted, Hansen twice helped prosecutors in high-profile murder cases.

In 1993, he testified that Jeffrey McDermott had confessed to him that he had killed Elwood “Poe” McKown, a local fence company owner. McDermott eventually confessed to the murder, but denied telling Hansen about it.

In 1996, Hansen testified against local attorney Richard Neller, then accused of the 1981 disappearance of his secretary, Cynthia Anderson. Hansen said Neller, who had been Hansen’s defense attorney in a previous case, had confessed to having Miss Anderson killed.

But U.S. District Judge John Potter ruled that Hansen’s testimony was not enough to prove any link to the disappearance.

The testimony got Hansen an early release from prison, though. Judge Potter released him in October, 1997, in exchange for his Neller testimony.

Hansen entered the federal witness protection program. But within months he was robbing banks again, authorities said.

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, the maximum-security prison is conducting an internal-affairs investigation into the escape. An outside consultant has been asked to assemble a report on operations in the record bureau.

Rhode Island’s state police and the FBI are investigating.

Prison spokesman Al Bucci said the prison rarely has federal inmates – usually no more than a dozen at a time, most of them female – and that staff members were apparently just fooled by Hansen’s documents.

“Fifty thousand documents go through that office every year, including 16,000 commitments and discharges,” he said. “The paperwork corroborated his story.”

Mr. Bucci said this wasn’t the first time that the prison has released someone it shouldn’t have. He estimated that there have been three or four other cases in the last four years, but those were because of mistakes by administrators, not an inmate’s attempts at fraud, he said.

Hansen is the first “erroneous release” to have been jailed on serious charges, he said.

Mr. Bucci said he was “absolutely shocked” to hear of Hansen’s escapade.

“He masterminded this whole thing by himself,” he said. “It’s amazing that someone had this foresight. I wish he had put his energies into something good instead of something bad.”

In Ohio, Hansen is charged with three robberies: the March 24 robbery of the Charter One Bank branch at 4260 Monroe St.; the March 28 robbery of a Fifth Third Bank in Findlay; and the April 10 robbery of a KeyBank branch in Fostoria.

He is a suspect in the April 6 robbery of the KeyBank at 1950 South Reynolds Rd.

All four Toledo-area robberies matched what authorities said is the standard Scott Kelly Hansen bank robbery: a slender man with a baseball cap approaches the counter with a note stating he has a gun and demanding money.

Hansen is a white male, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

He sometimes wears glasses. He has gone by the names Scott Edwards and Jonathan Murphy.

Liquor agents clip wings at ‘feather party'; Yacht club might lose its license for alcohol

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

A raffle of Thanksgiving turkeys could pluck away a Toledo yacht club’s liquor license.

State liquor-control agents raided the Riverview Yacht Club, 5981 Edgewater Dr., Saturday to shut down what they considered an illegal “feather party.”

More than 200 club members attended the party, which featured raffles and unlicensed bingo games.

“It’s no more than gambling,” said Earl Mack, assistant in charge of enforcement for the Division of Liquor Control. Club officials call it a misunderstanding. “I feel we did something we didn’t understand, and we’re in violation, and we’re sorry it happened,” said Alan Antoine, the club’s commodore.

Feather parties are not inherently illegal. But mixing gambling with the sale of liquor can be, which is why the club is facing three liquor control violations.

The club holds a feather party once a year, Mr. Antoine said.

The state liquor control board will rule within 90 days whether the club should be fined or have its license suspended or revoked.

In addition, holding a bingo game without a license is a felony in Ohio, Mr. Mack said.

His office will assemble information on a possible bingo charge against the club and present it to Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates later this week, he said.

Among the items seized in the raid was a roulette wheel. But Mr. Antoine said it was only going to be used to decide who won the night’s big turkey. “It’s just an entertaining party where you raffle off turkeys and hams and things just in time for Thanksgiving,” he said.

Gunman shot by police

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

After a chase through a residential area, two Toledo police officers fired on a man who pointed a rifle at them yesterday in West Toledo, shooting him multiple times, police said.

William Metcalf, 32, of Alma, Mich., who did not fire at the officers, was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he was listed in serious condition last night.

Acting police Chief Mike Navarre said the suspect appears to have been shot five times in the arm and leg.

The incident began about 1 p.m. when Officer Reid Werner saw a pickup truck traveling west on West Sylvania Avenue, near Lewis Avenue. Bottles were spilling out of the truck’s bed, breaking on the pavement, according to Lt. Leo Eggert.

The officer stopped the truck and asked to see the driver’s operator’s license. The driver did not have one, but gave Officer Werner what police believe was a fake name.

When the officer could not confirm the man’s identity by checking records, he asked the man to step out of the truck.

The man drove away, westbound on Sylvania.

Officer Werner called for backup and began to pursue the truck, which turned north on North Lockwood Avenue, a residential area.

As the truck continued up Lock wood, its passenger opened his door and jumped out, fleeing on foot.

The truck turned right onto Martin Avenue.

After turning, the truck spun out of control, police said, and stopped in the middle of the street. Officer Werner pulled his car up to the truck. Then, according to police, the suspect opened his door and pointed a 30-30 rifle at the officer.

“I’m not going to jail,” the man said, according to Lieutenant Eggert.

At this point, Sgt. Don Clark arrived, stopping his car behind Officer Werner’s. He got out and moved behind his unit’s right rear.

The officers pulled their 9mm handguns and asked the suspect to lower his rifle. When he did not, they opened fire. Officer Werner fired once; Sergeant Clark, 7 times, police said.

The other suspect, who jumped from the moving truck, was captured by officers outside a pizza restaurant on Sylvania Avenue. He was questioned at the police department’s Northwest district station and released.

Officers marked several bullets and bullet fragments strewn across Martin.

A gun blast, presumably from Sergeant Clark, smashed a hole in the rear window of Officer Werner’s police car.

As is the case anytime a Toledo officer fires a gun, the incident will be investigated by the department’s firearms review board, which will judge whether the shootings were justified. Sergeant Clark and Officer Werner are veteran officers.

“It doesn’t appear to be a questionable shooting,” Chief Navarre said last night. “The police and witness accounts match up.”

This was the fourth time police have shot someone in the line of duty in 1998.

Two of the shootings happened on Feb. 13, including the high-profile case of Joseph Chappell. He killed two women, shot at and wounded two firefighters, stabbed two children, and shot at police before three officers shot and kill ed him at one of Toledo’s busiest intersections.

Earlier that day, a man in the back of a police car wiggled free of his handcuffs, moved into the front seat, and tried to drive away. During a struggle with an officer, the officer’s gun fired, hitting the suspect in the side. The shooting was judged to be an accident.

On Jan. 30, police were called to the apartment of LeShawn Pitts, 18, a suicidal Davis College student. When Mr. Pitts began waving a shotgun at officers from his window, three officers fired a total of seven shots at him.

One nicked him in the arm; the others missed. Mr. Pitts then shot and killed himself.

Teen who killed clerk on a whim admits murder in plea agreement

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 11

A 16-year-old boy who told police he “want ed to know what it was like to kill someone” pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering a 7-Eleven clerk last year as she walked home from work in East Toledo.

Vicente Guevara pleaded guilty to the May 12, 1997, murder of 23-year-old Karen Thompson. The mother of two had just finished her shift at 2 a.m. when Guevara, a member of the Crips gang, shot her once in the back of her head with a sawed-off shot gun, with no apparent motive.

Emergency crews found her body four hours later, in the 600 block of Woodville Road.

A trial for Guevara had been scheduled for Monday, but prosecutors and defense attorneys reached a plea agreement yesterday after evidence surfaced regarding “the element of prior calculation and design” in the crime, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Wittenberg said.

The plea agreement reduced the most serious charge from aggravated murder to murder. Guevara pleaded guilty to a fire arms specification on the murder charge, and to charges of aggravated robbery and felonious assault, both linked to a stabbing in Prentice Park on April 16, 1997.

Guevara will be sentenced on July 23 at 2 p.m.

If Judge Wittenberg gives him the maximum sentence for all crimes, he could be sentenced to a mandatory 36 years to life. The minimum he could receive would be 18 years to life.

In either case, he would spend more time in prison than he has lived. He will not be eligible for early parole, or be able to receive a sentence reduction for good behavior.

Mary Sue Barone, an assistant prosecutor who handled the case, said the Thompson family is comfortable with the agreement.

After explaining the boy’s rights, Judge Wittenberg asked Guevara to describe and explain his actions on the night of the murder.

“I walked up behind Karen Thompson and shot her,” he said.

Judge Wittenberg: “Was there a reason you shot her?”

Guevara: “No.”

Judge Wittenberg: “What did you do after you shot her?”

Guevara: “Went home.”

In his testimony, Guevara admitted to the park stabbing, which was prompted when Guevara and a friend saw Stephen Marquez, 16, sitting on a bench in Prentice Park. He was waiting to walk his mother home from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, police said.

Young Marquez was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jacket that Guevara wanted.

“We just walked up to him and started fighting with him,” Guevara said.

He then took a butterfly knife and stabbed young Marquez in the neck. Guevara testified that he did not know his victim, as was the case with Ms. Thompson.

Guevara said he walked away without taking the jacket because it was soaked with the boy’s blood.

He showed little emotion during yesterday’s proceedings. Guevara, who was a 15-year-old Waite High School freshman at the time of the shooting, had left money and a paycheck in Ms. Thompson’s pock et.

Court records showed he had been troubled throughout his life, with a history of school suspensions, gang activity, and violence. He began drinking at age 11, was a father by 15, and has been described by teachers and officials as a menace to society.

One year ago Thursday, Juvenile Court Judge James Ray turned Guevara’s case over to adult court, saying the boy cannot be rehabilitated before he turns 21, when the juvenile system would have to release him.

Under Ohio law, a juvenile cannot receive the death penalty, even if he is tried as an adult.

Authorities seek phony police officer who took car from teens in W. Toledo

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 15

Toledo police have released a composite sketch of a suspect being sought for a carjacking Sunday night in West Toledo.

Police said two teenagers were sitting in a car in the parking lot of Fairgreen Lutheran Church, 3220 West Laskey Rd., about 10:45 p.m. when a man claiming to be a police officer opened the front left door and demanded that the driver turn the car over to him.

The teenagers asked to see the man’s badge and tried to drive away when he didn’t produce one.

But the man jumped onto the door frame, punched the driver, and forced the passenger into the back seat.

The man drove them to a gas station at Laskey and Secor roads and let them out after threatening to arrest them. He then drove off.

About two hours later, police saw the car traveling on Highland Avenue. When the driver turned without using his signal, he was stopped.

The driver, Lawrence Fagan, of 3202 Parkwood Ave., told officers he had just bought the car from another man – the suspect in the carjacking – on Maplewood Avenue for $100. Mr. Fagan was taken into custody and charged with receiving stolen property along with several traffic offenses.

The suspect in the carjacking is described by both the teenagers and Mr. Fagan as being about 28 years old, with light brown hair and red shorts. The teenagers said he was wearing a red shirt; Mr. Fagan said it was white. Anyone with information about the car jacking is asked to call the Crime Stopper program.

Deshler duped by a ‘doctor’ with no degree; Ohio family practice resident of ’97 won patient raves

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 8

By all accounts they were happy to get him.

Neel Sheth had agreed to move to the village of Deshler to be the town doctor. For a decade, Deshler’s leaders had been trying to attract doctors to their tiny spot on the Henry County map. Some came to stay for a year, some two, but they’d all leave.

“It’s important to have a doctor in town you can call at any time of the day or night,” said Donald Tussing, the longtime mayor of Deshler’s 1,700 people.

So when Dr. Sheth appeared – a budding star, the state’s family practice resident of the year, winner of rave reviews from patients – they thought they’d struck gold.

“We are very fortunate to have him,” said Henry County Hospital CEO Bob Coholich in April. It was front page news in the local paper.

On June 2, Dr. Sheth made the papers again, this time only as Mr. Sheth. He had been discovered as a fraud, law enforcement officials said. He had no medical degree, no medical license, no right to practice medicine.

In the law’s mind, he also had no right to prescribe medication, which is why on July 7 he will be arraigned on two felony drug-trafficking charges, with more charges possible.

Mr. Sheth declined to be interviewed for this article. His story is, like Dennis Roark’s, a cautionary tale about how some fake doctors slip through the system.

How did a man whose last diploma was from a high school end up convincing people he is a doctor?

And, just as curious, how can he be, in the opinion of several people, one of the state’s most promising physicians?

Neel Sheth was raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., the son of immigrants from India. His father had a good job as an engineer for Ford Motor Co., and young Neel started to dream of life as a doctor, a healer.

“He’s wanted to be a doctor forever,” said his wife, Julie, who has known him since they were children.

He was an excellent student, she said, getting mostly A’s at Huron High School. He and Julie stayed local for college, starting at the University of Michigan in 1986. She studied nursing, and he got into the college of pharmacy. He enrolled in a bachelor of science program in pharmaceutical sciences, a sparsely populated major with only a handful of students. According to the college, the program does not train graduates sufficiently to be certified as pharmacists; it’s most often used for students going on to PhD work.

His wife said Mr. Sheth was a fine student at U of M, averaging about a 3.8 grade-point average. But when his time at U of M came to an end at the end of 1990, despite his good grades, he didn’t have a degree. University officials will say only that he did not complete the degree requirements for the college of pharmacy.

But he still wanted to be a doctor, and the lack of a college degree did not stop Mr. Sheth from applying to a medical school – the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo.

Many American medical schools, including MCO, do not require an undergraduate degree for admission as long as a student has completed the pre-med requirements – a lengthy list of classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and other fields that don’t add up to any single major.

MCO accepted Mr. Sheth into its medical school in 1991. Officials knew he did not have an undergraduate degree, but “not every student has a degree when he or she arrives,” said MCO associate dean Dr. Mary Smith.

Members of Mr. Sheth’s class at MCO have mostly sketchy memories of him. Some remember seeing him in classes; some remember his name on the alphabetical list of students that MCO administrators used for dozens of purposes.

When asked why Mr. Sheth did not graduate from medical school, MCO spokesman Jim Winkler first said he had not passed part one of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a test of basic science and anatomy taken at the end of a student’s second year. When asked later about it again, Mr. Winkler retracted the comment and said he was not allowed to discuss the specifics of Mr. Sheth’s case.

Mrs. Sheth confirmed that her husband did not graduate because he failed to pass a board test. She said he had told her he had retaken the test and passed, something MCO’s records do not reflect.

(Mrs. Sheth filed for divorce from her husband about 18 months ago, but they speak regularly because of their three shared children.)

At MCO, but not at all medical schools, a student failing part one of the boards is allowed to continue taking classes with his fellow students. The only barrier is that the student must pass the board eventually in order to graduate.

Mr. Winkler confirmed that Mr. Sheth attended MCO for the four years standard for his class but did not graduate.

According to his wife, another important factor emerged on Aug. 11, 1994, when Mr. Sheth and two of his children were in a car accident near their home in Saline. It left one of the children critically injured and Mr. Sheth with serious ankle injuries that required several surgeries to repair.

Mr. Sheth fell behind in his work at MCO, his wife said, and never caught up. “Since the car accident, it’s just been one thing after another.”

It is standard practice for fourth-year med students to apply for entry into a residency program in the field of their interest. For Mr. Sheth, that was family practice, and one of the programs he applied to was at Flower Hospital in Sylvania. Flower’s family practice residency program was the first in Ohio and one of the first 12 nationwide.

Flower’s application process requires letters of recommendation, a medical school transcript, and a copy of a medical school diploma.

From Mr. Sheth, Flower officials got the letters, and they got the transcript. They never got the diploma and never asked MCO for a copy when one didn’t arrive.

“Honestly I don’t know why,” said Flower spokesman Tim Langhorst, trying to explain the lapse. “We didn’t do the proper level of checking.”

And so Neel Sheth, whose last diploma reads Huron High School and who had failed a basic anatomy test, was allowed to walk the halls of Flower Hospital, seeing patients, prescribing medications, and playing doctor.

What some might find most surprising about the story of Neel Sheth is that he was, by most accounts, a fine physician.

“I believe he was an excellent doctor,” said his wife. “He always got good reviews.”

And last September, when Flower was asked to name its top resident for nomination to the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, Mr. Sheth got the nod. The academy named him one of 17 “outstanding residents” for the state of Ohio for his “community service, service to the academy, teaching, leadership, and involvement in special projects.”

Most stirring are the words of one of his patients, a woman willing to call Mr. Sheth “my savior” and who did not want to be identified for this article.

She was throwing up blood when she met Mr. Sheth in the emergency room at Flower. He was a first-year resident fresh out of MCO.

A patient with a slew of chronic ailments who had problems confiding in physicians, she took a liking to the young resident.

“I always had a hard time trusting doctors,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of quacks.”

She was admitted for treatment, and Mr. Sheth checked on her regularly throughout her stay. She said he seemed professional, bright, and sensitive.

“I thought he was sensational,” she said. “Just brilliant, brilliant.”

The woman made him her regular doctor, sometimes seeing him several times a week for her many ailments. She stayed under his care throughout his residency, and her health improved.

Mr. Sheth prescribed his patient a host of drugs over the three years he treated her. Among them: Ultram, a pain pill; Lipitor, for cholesterol; Normadine, for blood pressure; Norphalex, a muscle relaxant, and Nasonex, for her sinuses.

“He always knew what to give me,” she said. “He knew me medically very well, much better than any other doctor ever has. It helped me feel much, much better.

“He was very professional. He acted just like what a doctor should act like,” the woman said. “He had an awful lot of patients who just loved him to pieces.”

She said she was “stunned” and “numb” when it became public that her doctor was not a doctor. She said she told him things she would not tell her family members. He was the only person she fully trusted.

“I told him up front that I wanted honesty, when I saw him the first time. He’s the only doctor I ever confided in. Now I don’t know if I can ever trust a doctor again.”

Henry County Hospital, in its attempts to start a clinic in Deshler, had hoped to bring in a different doctor, Dr. Eric Smith, but he is Canadian and there were immigration issues holding up the move.

So they turned to Mr. Sheth.

“Dr. Sheth saw the need and has made the commitment,” Mr. Coholich wrote in his letter to all Henry County residents. Mr. Sheth is a signal of “the hospital’s focus on physician recruitment,” he wrote.

The hospital renovated part of a nursing home to make room for the new town doctor. Mr. Sheth was set to start his practice there in August.

Problems began to mount, though, in April, when he applied for privileges on the medical staff at Flower Hospital, where he had been for the last three years. With privileges, Mr. Sheth would have been able to treat his Deshler patients at Flower if equipment there was needed.

But Flower’s policies require the hospital to check the backgrounds of anyone requesting privileges, including checking up on their education. The fact that Mr. Sheth had no medical school diploma became known, and he was thrown out of the residency program and his case turned over to law-enforcement authorities, officials at Flower said.

But after Flower learned Mr. Sheth was a fraud, they did not notify any other hospitals – even though the hospital knew he had been searching for other work and at least some of his patients and colleagues knew he had landed a job in Deshler.

“We did not notify anyone, no,” Mr. Langhorst said. Henry County Hospital officials learned about Mr. Sheth’s legal troubles through the physician rumor mill.

Mr. Coholich said Mr. Sheth would have had to undergo a similar credentialing process at Henry County Hospital and that the snag that caught him at Flower would have caught him there.

That doesn’t answer the question why the hospital hired him and put his face on brochures sent to every household in the county before doing a background check.

“Our premise is that he was in a residency program, so we didn’t check how he got into that residency program,” Mr. Coholich said.

Even with the legal concerns hanging over Mr. Sheth’s head, Mr. Coholich paused a few seconds before answering if he would consider hiring Mr. Sheth again.

“Just because he wasn’t up front with us initially, no,” he said. “He is a good, knowledgeable physician. He just had these other issues with the boards.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Sheth is preparing his legal defense and, according to his soon-to-be ex-wife, studying for the medical board tests and looking for another residency.

Teacher faces drug charge

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 18

CLYDE — A Clyde High School teacher was one of 14 people arrested yesterday during a drug bust at the high school, police said.

Social-studies teacher Jerry Evans was charged with cocaine trafficking and was being held last night in the Sandusky County jail. He was arrested at the school about 9:30 a.m., according to David Danhoff, superintendent of the Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village School District.

Mr. Evans, 48, was hired at the school in 1983 and has 25 total years of teaching experience, Mr. Danhoff said.

Thirteen others ranging in age from 15 to 44 were arrested, including four juveniles. They face charges ranging from cocaine trafficking to firearms offenses and sexual contact with a minor. All are Clyde residents.

Clyde police said the arrests were the culmination of a year-long investigation, but said they expect additional arrests in coming weeks.

Between now and the start of summer vacation on June 4, Mr. Evans’s classes will be taken over by a substitute teacher.

Tractor-trailer rig slams into traffic on I-75; 6 injured

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

CYGNET — A tractor-trailer rig didn’t stop when it approached a traffic jam on southbound I-75 yesterday, slamming into stopped traffic and injuring six people, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

A total of eight vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred about 4:30 p.m., about one mile south of Cygnet in Wood County. Five had to be towed away. It took nearly three hours to clear away the scene and reopen the interstate to southbound traffic.

Troopers said the truck appeared to be traveling about 65 mph at the moment of impact. Its driver, Victor Scott, 37, of Flint, Mich., was being treated last night in Wood County Hospital, Bowling Green, for minor injuries.

Troopers said charges against him will be filed tomorrow.

Five other people were injured in the melee.

David Barnes, 47, of Oak Harbor, and Brian Stansberry, 39, of Carey, were taken by air ambulance to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo, where they were listed in fair condition last night.

A woman, whose name was not available last night, was flown to Medical College of Ohio Hospital, Toledo, and was in critical condition, troopers said.

Two other people, whose names also were not available, were in one of the vehicles involved in the chain reaction accident.

Both were treated at Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, Findlay.

Traffic had stopped on the interstate because of a large construction project a few miles south in Hancock County, Sgt. Stephen Babich said.

Mr. Scott did not brake until the truck was a few feet from the point of impact, if then, he said.

The truck, which was in the left lane, piled into two stopped southbound vehicles: a minivan with Mr. Barnes and Mr. Stansberry inside and the woman’s Honda sedan, troopers said.

The truck climbed partially over the two vehicles, entangling them into its bumper and tires.

Once the truck was on top of the vehicles, Sergeant Babich said, it was unable to steer because of the entangled axle.

The truck, pushing and carrying the other two, then crossed the median and went into the left northbound lane. No northbound cars were struck.

The two vehicles carried across the median were both crushed. “The minivan was the size of two office desks,” Sergeant Babich said.

Meanwhile, the truck’s initial collision set off a chain reaction of vehicles colliding, causing serious damage to five other vehicles. The two people transported to Blanchard Valley were in one or two of those vehicles.

Witnesses told troopers the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash. One driver, who said she was traveling 59 mph, said the truck had passed her moments before the accident. Another car, whose occupants said they were traveling at 65 mph, was keeping pace immediately behind the truck.

The speed limit for trucks on that stretch of I-75 is 55 mph.

Busy downtown restaurant damaged by fire

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 10

A two-alarm fire caused about $80,000 damage to a downtown second-story restaurant last night, Toledo fire officials said.

The blaze at George’s City Club, 415 North Huron St., started in a storage area in the rear of the second floor.

The fire department got the call at 6:43 p.m. and, 13 minutes later, called a second alarm to bring more firefighters to the scene.

They proved unnecessary because the fire was brought under control within 20 minutes.

Batallion Chief Jerry Abair said the extra firefighters were brought in because the building involved was connected at the second floor to another building, to which flames could have spread quickly.

Firefighters first raised a ladder to the build ing’s roof to attack the fire from the rear.

A few minutes later, another group of firefighters climbed the narrow stairway that connects the building’s Huron Street entrance to the second floor, pushing the fire toward the first group of firefighters.

In addition to the fire damage, the flames caused an interior water pipe to burst, flooding some first-floor offices, officials said.

The building’s first floor houses the offices of Continental Secret Service Bureau, a security agency, and the Toledo Newspaper Guild, which represents unionized employees of The Blade.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation last night.

Milwaukee man charged in Fulton County chase

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 11

WAUSEON — A Milwaukee man led state troopers on a chase across Fulton County Saturday night, hijacking one vehicle and trying to hijack four more, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

The chase began about 6:30 p.m., about three miles west of the Ohio Turnpike’s Wauseon exit. A trooper clocked an eastbound car driven by Arthur Hayse, 27, at 105 mph and tried to pull it over.

Mr. Hayse kept going, however, until he reached the exit, authorities said. He lost control on the off ramp, hitting a light pole and sending his car into a ditch.

Unfortunately for the pursuing trooper, the light pole fell across the off ramp, blocking the path in front of her car.

According to troopers, Mr. Hayse got out of his car, walked up to a nearby pickup truck and produced a 25-caliber semiautomatic pistol. He demanded that the truck’s driver and passenger turn over the keys. They did, and Mr. Hayse drove off, southbound on State Rt. 108, troopers said.

While being pursued just north of the Wauseon city limits, he abandoned the pickup in a parking lot and hijacked another pickup.

It stalled, and he was forced to run from it.

He reached the intersection of State Rt. 108 and U.S. 20A and tried to hijack three more vehicles there, troopers said, before he was captured. Troopers found a small amount of marijuana on him.

Mr. Hayse was at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio last night. He faces charges of felony fleeing, carrying a concealed weapon, speeding, driving without a license, drug abuse, and drug paraphernalia. The FBI was considering federal car jack ing charges, troopers said.

The lamppost was cleared from the exit ramp 20 minutes later.