Putnam County Pursuit Ends In Lima

A man is facing charges after allegedly leading authorities on a pursuit with his young child in the vehicle.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says it responded to 212 North High Street in Columbus Grove around 11 p.m. Friday to investigate an incident that was reported as a kidnapping.

The sheriff’s office says they learned that Michael B. Strykul, 52, and Dorothy A. Selhorst, 43, have a 4-year-old child together and that Michael took the child during an argument with Dorothy.

Deputies say they tried to stop Michael’s vehicle and a pursuit ensued that later ended in Lima after his vehicle was disabled from stop sticks.

The sheriff’s office says the child was okay and was returned to its mother.

Authorities say Strykul was taken into custody and is being held at the Putnam County Jail on charges of failure to comply with a police officer and operating a vehicle intoxicated, and additional charges are pending.


Findlay Priest Indicted On Child Sex Trafficking, Other Charges

A Findlay priest has been indicted on charges that include child sex trafficking.

A federal grand jury in Cleveland handed down the indictment against Father Michael Zacharias on Friday.

The 10-count indictment includes charges of sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking of an adult and minor by force, fraud, or coercion.

Zacharias, 53, was the pastor at St. Michael The Archangel Parish in Findlay.

He was arrested on August 18th and the FBI spoke about the case outside his house near the church. (video below)

“This defendant is accused of using his status and position as a religious and community leader to seek out troubled minors and exploit their personal challenges for his own satisfaction,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.

“This indictment is a step towards finding justice for the victims, families and community harmed by the defendant and his alleged acts.”

The offenses Zacharias has been charged with allegedly involve boys from Catholic schools in Toledo.

Authorities believe there are other victims of Zacharias out there.

The FBI encourages anyone that may have been groomed or victimized by Zacharias to contact the FBI at 1-877-FBI-OHIO (1-877-324-6446).

The Diocese of Toledo placed Father Zacharias on administrative leave after he was arrested.

He has been in federal custody since his arrest.




Drop In Active COVID-19 Cases In Hancock County

The number of active COVID cases took a dip in the latest numbers from Hancock Public Health.

The agency on Friday reported a total of 114 active cases, which is a drop of 29 from Wednesday.

Total cases went up by 22 cases to 1,063.

Two more Hancock County residents have died of the virus and the death toll now stands at 26.

State data shows Putnam County has had 1,016 cases and 27 deaths.

Both Hancock and Putnam Counties are considered a “high incidence” county.

Hancock County is still at level 2, or orange, on the state’s COVID-19 alert map.

Putnam County is still at level 3, or the red level.

Statewide, 2,518 new cases were reported on Friday, which is another single-day record, along with 23 new deaths.

Overall, there have been 192,948 cases in the state and 5,184 deaths.



New Program To Benefit Hancock County 3rd Graders

Hancock Literacy and Raise the Bar – Hancock County are collaborating on a new program benefitting local 3rd graders.

The program, which is called “Lit Man” to reflect its combination of literacy and manufacturing concepts, provides resources to sharpen reading and creative thinking skills while also introducing youth to manufacturing and products made in Hancock County.

“We wanted to make sure we targeted 3rd graders because this is a pivotal year in their literacy skills,” said Tricia Valasek, Manager of Raise the Bar – Hancock County.

“And we also wanted to bring manufacturing to the forefront during Manufacturing Awareness Month which is October.”



Through the Lit Man program, each of Hancock County’s 850 3rd graders will receive a manufacturing-related picture book, “Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems”.

Students will also be introduced to five area manufacturers (Cooper Tire, GSW, Molten, Nissin Brake Ohio, ZF) and their designed/produced car parts through a creative coloring page flier.

The program also supports 3rd grade teachers with talking about manufacturing through a lesson plan in the language arts classroom and allows children and families to explore local manufacturing via a fun, interactive website (www.raisethebarhancock.org/litman).

“Literacy skills in third grade are critical,” added Shannon Andersen, Director of Hancock Literacy.

“Up until third grade, students are learning to read. If youth are not proficient readers when they begin fourth grade, as much as half of the curriculum they will be taught will be incomprehensible. Lit Man, thus, brings a fun book to the hands and home libraries of our students to help them in their love of reading.”



Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued

Hancock County is included in a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued by the National Weather Service.

The watch includes all of northwest Ohio and goes until 9 p.m. Friday.

Forecasters say some of the storms that are forming along a cold front may approach severe limits with damaging winds and small hail the main threats.

After this line of storms moves through, the weekend is looking decent, with partly sunny skies and a high around 50 Saturday and low 50s Sunday.


President To Hold Rally In Central Ohio

President Trump has a rally scheduled in central Ohio over the weekend.

The “Make America Great Again Victory Rally” is set for 4 p.m. in Circleville on Saturday.

Trump was last in Ohio for the Presidential Debate in Cleveland last month.

Joe Biden visited Ohio earlier this month, making stops in Toledo and Cincinnati.

Vice President Mike Pence has a rally scheduled in Toledo on Friday afternoon.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will make a stop in Cleveland on Saturday.



Reward Doubled For Information About Escaped Murderer

The reward for information leading to the arrest of a wanted fugitive in Ohio has doubled.

The U.S. Marshals Service has upped the reward for information leading to the arrest of Lester Eubanks to $50,000.

Eubanks was convicted in the 1966 killing of 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener, from Mansfield, and given the death sentence, which was later commuted to life in prison.

In 1973, Eubanks was allowed to shop unsupervised at a Columbus-area shopping center and hasn’t been seen since.

The now 75-year old was recently featured on the Netflix reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries.”

Get more on the case here.


2 Teens Injured In Findlay Crash

Two Findlay teenagers were injured when their car went off the road and crashed into a tree.

The crash happened on South River Road, between Broad Avenue and Interstate 75, at around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.

The Findlay Police Department says Julien Carlin, 18, was driving west on South River Road when he went off the right side of the road, overcorrected and then went off the left side of the road and hit a tree.

Carlin, and a passenger, Halie Bowen, 17, were transported to Blanchard Valley Hospital for possible injuries.

Carlin was issued a citation for the crash.


Many More “Red” Counties On Latest COVID Alert Map

Hancock and Putnam County remained at their previous levels on the latest COVID-19 alert map that was released on Thursday.

Hancock County remained at level 2, or the orange level, while Putnam County is still at level 3, or the red level.

Hancock and Putnam both are still labeled as a “high incidence” county.

The number of “red” counties has increased to 38, with Allen and Hardin Counties among the new “red” counties.

Governor DeWine says 74 percent of Ohioans are now living in a “red” county.

“COVID-19 is multiplying very quickly, and it will continue unless we do something different,” DeWine said in his Thursday COVID update.

“More of us need to wear masks, and more of us need to be careful. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”

Hancock County has had 1,041 cases and 24 deaths as of the Wednesday update from Hancock Public Health.

143 of the Hancock cases are active, meaning the patient is currently under isolation or quarantine.

State data shows Putnam County as of Thursday has had 974 cases and 27 deaths.

More than 2,400 new cases were reported statewide on Thursday along with 12 deaths.

That brings the statewide numbers to 190,430 cases and 5,161 deaths.

Get more coronavirus information and view the county-by-county map by clicking here.




Ohio In Peak Time For Deer-Involved Crashes

Ohio drivers are being reminded that we’re heading into the peak time for deer-related crashes.

In 2019, statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol show there were 19,375 deer-related crashes on Ohio’s roadways.

Of those crashes, four resulted in fatal injuries to motorists and 966 people were injured.

46 percent of the crashes occurred in October, November, and December.

Some of the top counties for deer-related crashes include Stark, Richland, Lorain, Trumbull, and Hancock with US-30, I-71 and I-80 being the leading roadways in the state.

“Always avoid distractions and keep your full focus on the roadway,” said Colonel Richard Fambro of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“If you see a deer slow down, but do not swerve. If you strike a deer, move to a safe place if you are able, turn on your hazard lights, and report the crash.”

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, deer become much more active during the fall breeding season which occurs from late October through November.

The dawn and dusk hours are the most likely times for deer-involved crashes.

Get more tips on avoiding a collision with a deer by clicking here.