Highway Patrol busts multiple cars this month
Whatever the Missouri State Highway Patrol is doing, it’s working. Even if that means just working harder. The Highway Patrol busted four vehicles this month that have led to more than 100 pounds of marijuana seized. Sgt. Jake Angle said the troopers haven’t changed much that has led to this unusual amount. He said they’re just out patrolling the area and trying to keep it safe. “These are just our troopers going out working hard every day just conducting complete traffic stops; stopping cars and paying attention to what’s going on around them,” Angle said. “Nothing’s going on. We’re not doing anything special. It’s just guys going out there, working hard, and through the course of those guys out there doing what they do every day, here lately, we just hit several fairly sizable seizures.” The first bust came March 5. It was a Sunday morning around 7 when troopers stopped a Nissan Sentra near the 63-mile marker on Interstate 29 in Andrew County. Eight pounds of marijuana, ecstasy pills and $5,000 in U.S. currency were recovered that day. The driver, Michael L. Nelson, 22, of Nebraska, and passenger Miya A. Jackson, 20, of California, were arrested for possession of a controlled substance and second-degree drug trafficking. A little more than two weeks later, the patrol made three more stops in a five-day span that led to drug busts. On Wednesday, March 22, Troop H found 47 pounds of pot along with two handguns after stopping a Honda Civic with four people inside at the 53-mile marker. Those four individuals — Guillermo Cortez-Guzman, from Fellsmere, Florida, and Wenatchee, Washington, residents Elias Ramirez-Aguilar, Rosario Perez-Rodriguez and Beatriz Luna-Serato — all were charged with possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon. The following day, a K-9 with Troop H led them to another bust, this time for 20 pounds of marijuana. A Ford Fusion driven by Joseph Fartantonio of North Hollywood, California, was stopped near the 50-mile marker heading south on I-29. Then, this past Sunday, a traffic chase led to another 26 pounds of marijuana. The patrol stopped a fleeing car after the suspect crashed his Dodge Charger in Holt County. Driver Charles E. Jones of Denver lost control of his vehicle at the 70-mile marker and crashed into a guardrail. Jones was transported to Mosaic Life Care via Holt County ambulance, where he is in serious but stable condition. He faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. That’s 101 total pounds and eight people arrested. “I don’t think Missouri was their final destination,” Angle said. “It’s been kind of crazy here the last three or four weeks, but that’s good.” Angle added they’ve found more than just marijuana. Illegal weapons and fugitives from out of state also have been captured because of the stops.
Domestic call turns violent on Trooper
A veteran state trooper encountered a hostile situation when dispatched to an early morning call Tuesday in Lincoln County. Corporal David Fry of the WVSP Hamlin Detachment was nearing the end of this shift when he responded to a domestic complaint at an apartment complex on Midway Road near the Lincoln-Kanawha County line, according to State Police Spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous. “He could hear shouting from inside as he approached the apartment,” Baylous said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “The way the apartment was laid out he couldn’t see the male suspect inside, but he could see the female. He was able to get her attention and get her to come out the door which most likely saved her life.” Once the female fled the apartment, Fry came under a hail of gunfire from inside the apartment. The suspect, identified as Jeremiah Yeager, 40, opened fire with a rifle. Two of the shots struck Fry in the wrist and shoulder. Earlier reports indicated Fry had also been shot in the leg. Baylous said it turned out that report was inaccurate. Fry returned fire as he retreated from the building. “He returned fire at the suspect and it got to the point he was out of rounds in his pistol,” said Baylous. “Because of the severity of his injury to his wrist, he didn’t have use of that hand and was unable to reload.” Knowing he was in rural Lincoln County at 2 a.m. Fry realized backup would take a while, so he got into his cruiser and with two severe wounds began driving toward Charleston. “Along the route he did encounter the female victim and tried to coax her into coming with him,” Baylous said. “She was so frantic that she took off and hid in the woods or along the creek bank.” Fry met the ambulance at the Southridge Shopping Center in Charleston and was transported on to CAMC via ambulance. State police units responded to the scene where Yeager had barricaded himself inside the apartment. State police incident response teams along with Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department deputies spent several hours attempting to establish communications with Yeager inside the home using robots normally deployed for explosive removal. They were able to locate him in the bathtub of the apartment’s bathroom where the entry units were in position and did establish communication. “He put the rifle aside, but he had a handgun still within reach which he was trying to conceal from the entry team,” Baylous explained. “When they got in they did notice the handgun and there was a scuffle and they were able to take him into custody without injury to any other officers.Fry is being treated for his wounds and according to Baylous is doing remarkably well for the severity of the injuries. He’s in serious, but stable condition. The female victim is also being treated for her injuries suffered in the initial domestic violence incident and Yeager was taken to the hospital for evaluation for minor injuries he received during the apprehension. Yeager is charged with domestic assault, domestic battery, malicious wounding, attempted murder on a police officer, obstruction, brandishing and strangulation. He allegedly struck the woman several times with the gun.
Ohio State Highway Patrol's Trooper of the Year
A Lorain native committed to serving his community has been named Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year from among nine District Troopers of the Year across the state. Ray Santiago is honored to be named trooper of the year, but says it is still unbelievable. “It is all so surreal,” Santiago said. “Once they called my name, I took a deep breath and did a mental checklist — kiss your wife, shake captain’s hand, and hug your mother — before walking to the stage.” Santiago said he had no idea he would receive this recognition. “It’s one of the state’s best kept secrets, literally,” he said. “It’s human nature to want to know, but no one would budge.” Santiago said his passion and longing to make a difference in the community came from a childhood dream of being a member of the military. “I had a regret of not joining the military when I was younger,” he said. “When the opportunity presented itself to me to join the Patrol, I felt it was kind of a way to fulfill that regret. “It gives me a chance to serve at a local level, at home and still get that sense of service .” Santiago joined the Highway Patrol in 2010 as a member of the 150th Academy Class. In 2011, he earned his commission and was assigned to the Ashland Post. In 2013, he was transferred to the Elyria Post in North Ridgeville. “I was blessed to be able to return home and I have been here ever since, which is about four years now,” Santiago said. He has earned the Criminal Patrol Award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Santiago was selected as the Elyria Post Trooper of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also was selected as District Trooper of the Year for the Bucyrus District and Cleveland District and earned the Chiaramonte Humanitarian Award in 2014 and 2016. While appreciative of the recognition, Santiago said he feels everyone who was nominated for Trooper of the Year merits it as well. “Every trooper nominated deserves the title because we all contribute in different ways,” he said. “The only thing I take credit for is the blessing to be able to help my community.” Without his great support system, he said he would not be where he is now. “I have amazingly supportive coworkers, supervisors and family members,” Santiago said. “If I don’t have any one of those ingredients, I would not be able to do half as much as I do.” Aside from Highway Patrol duties, Santiago is active with Operation Open Heart, a nonprofit organization started in 1962 by former trooper David Harper. It facilitates support and mentorship by law enforcement and public safety services of boys ages 6-17, receiving assistance through Lorain County Children Services. “I’m a huge proponent of early intervention and interaction; going to visit them is very fulfilling,” Santiago said. “I’m not there because something bad happened, but because I want to be there.” Santiago also is active in his church, Sacred Heart Chapel, 4301 Pearl Ave. in Lorain, and participates with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County. He said he makes frequent visits and last year he was able to provide school supplies for the children at the Boys and Girls Clubs. “I truly want young people to know that I’m not their adversary; I’m here to serve them, like a friend,” Santiago said. “Too often, we are viewed as the bad guys. But that’s not the case. We are here to serve them.” Santiago said he wants to continue being a positive influence in the community. “I want to continue contributing to my hometown and making a safer Ohio,” he said.
State trooper saves woman from burning home
An off-duty Indiana State Trooper is being credited for saving the life of a woman trapped inside a burning Muncie home. Trooper Jacob Ridgeway was driving in his marked state police car in the city Wednesday night. As he passed a home in the 1200 block of Cowing Drive, he saw white smoke coming from the back of the residence. Then, he noticed the smoke go from white to black in his rear view mirror. Police say Ridgeway backed up in front of the house and got out off his vehicle. When he went up the driveway, he told police he could see a vehicle engulfed in flames under a carport. The homeowner, Jack Mitchener, was standing outside the carport. Ridgeway was able to get him away from the fire but couldn’t get an information because Mitchener appeared to be in shock. A neighbor told the trooper Mitchener’s wife, Virginia, was still inside. Meanwhile, the fire was spreading to the back of the home. Ridgeway was able to get inside through a side patio door. He found Mrs. Mitchener sitting in a chair with her walker nearby. Smoke was beginning to fill the home as he helped her outside. Once everyone was safe, the trooper radioed Indiana State Police Dispatch to bring fire units. Paramedics also responded and evaluated everyone at the scene. No one was hurt. Ridgeway is a one year member of the State Police and is assigned to the Pendleton District. State Police said the incident is a reminder that a trooper is always on duty and shows the value of troopers living in the communities where they serve.
How 'It's Always Sunny' paid tribute to a fallen New Jersey trooper
If you blink, you just might miss it. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" paid a subtle tribute to a fallen New Jersey trooper in a recent episode – a move that the New Jersey State Police called "well played" in a Facebook post on Friday. In "A Cricket's Tale," episode nine of the 12th season of the show that aired March 1, there's a photo of Trooper Sean Cullen placed in Paddy's Pub. Cullen, who was born in Dublin, Ireland and came to the U.S. when he was three years old, died after he was struck by a vehicle on I-295 in West Deptford Township last March while responding to a car fire. He was 31. State police were a little more than curious to find how the photo ended up in the show. After a bit of investigative work, they found that "It's Always Sunny" contacted Cullen's family to get their permission. Some family members were cast as extras for the episode, too, according to the New Jersey State Police's Facebook post. "Well, played 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,'" they said in the post. "Well played."
Friday, 85 new troopers officially joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol
The Patrol’s 161st Academy Class graduated today after 23 weeks of intense training. The keynote address was provided by the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Additional remarks were provided by Director John Born, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol Superintendent and Captain Arthur J. Combest, Academy Commandant. The Oath of Office was issued by Judge Peter B. Abele, Fourth Appellate District, Ohio Court of Appeals. Courses completed by the 161st class included crash investigation, criminal and traffic law, detection of impaired drivers, firearms, physical fitness, self-defense, and emergency vehicle operations. Tpr. Joshua E. Jones of Tipp City, Ohio, was selected as class speaker and thanked the Academy and cadet family members for being supportive during their training. Each of the graduates will report to their posts on Monday, March 27, 2017. The graduates’ first 60 working days will be a field-training period under the guidance of a veteran officer. The new graduates are assigned to 24 of the Patrol’s 58 posts.
Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Class 92 Commissioned
It takes a special person to become a Wyoming State Trooper. They have to be willing to give much more then they will ever get back. They have to be committed to serve and protect all people in Wyoming with courtesy, professionalism and integrity. Our newest troopers are up to the challenge. The Trooper Basic Academy has concluded and the members of the academy recently commissioned (March 23rd) where they took their oaths of office and transitioned from their "Recruit" badges to their official badges in front of family and friends. The ceremony marked the 92nd graduated Wyoming Highway Patrol Academy Class. These troopers recently completed an intensive training period of instruction. During the Trooper Basic Academy, they were instructed in a variety of classes including firearms, commercial carrier training, physical training, Radar/LIDAR use, emergency vehicle operation, custody and control, crash investigation and others.
Fellow officers keep badly injured Trooper's promise to son
Before Friday's horrific accident on the Dolphin Expressway, Trooper Carlos Rosario-Flores had planned to watch his son play in an all-star basketball game on Sunday. The 12-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol was instead in a hospital room at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center hooked up to machines and recovering from multiple surgeries. But Joshua wouldn't be alone on this day when he took the court just a few blocks away from the hospital at the Slam Arena. Joshua was surrounded by the only people who truly understood what a life of service can take from a family. "Today we stood proud with #FHP as we supported Trooper Rosario-Flores' son at his basketball game," Miami police posted on social media. Law enforcement officers filled an entire section of the bleachers — not just five or six officers, but at least 39, and not just from Florida Highway Patrol. Miami officers came as did men and women from other agencies — officers standing shoulder to shoulder to help the badly injured trooper keep a promise to his son. Such a simple gesture, but it sent a clear message that the Miami trooper's family was not alone.
Indiana State trooper finds estimated $400,000 in illegal drugs during traffic stop
On Monday afternoon at around 1:46, an Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement trooper stopped a tractor-trailer combination on eastbound Interstate 70 near the 41 mile-marker for a routine compliance inspection. During conversations with the occupants, the trooper developed probable cause for a vehicle search and requested additional ISP CVED troopers. During a search of the cab, troopers found (609) Marijuana edibles, (1497) Marijuana smoking devices, (456) ounces of Marijuana syrup, (7) pounds of Marijuana plant, (400) controlled substance pills, and (20) Fentanyl transdermal patches, inside suitcases within the cab area. The driver was identified as 24-year-old Christian Calmus of Phoenix, AZ. The passenger was identified as 34-year-old Sergo Guyumjian of Flushing, NY. Both men were incarcerated in the Putnam County Jail on felony charges of Dealing Marijuana over (10) pounds and Possession of Narcotic drugs. The tractor-trailer loaded with seafood was enroute from California to New York. The New York street value is estimated at $400,000.
Dramatic video captures motorcycle chase, attack on trooper
On Monday, dramatic dashcam video was released of a police chase in Berrien Township that ended with a Michigan state trooper being attacked last month. The full clip runs just under 50 minutes and shows the remarkable account of what happened the morning of February 20. Two men, 21-year-old Michael Barber and his 19-year-old brother, Travis Wise were arrested for attacking Trooper Garry Guild. Both men face multiple charges, including assault and resisting an officer. The dashcam video starts at 8:40 a.m. In the video, you’ll see Michael Barber speed past. He’s riding a stolen motorcycle on U.S. 31 near Matthew Road. Michigan State Trooper Garry Guild attempts to stop him. Barber slows down and pulls off to the right in what appears to be a surrender; however, he then he speeds up and re-enters the freeway. Guild's sirens and lights flip on and the chase continues. Cut to 8:43 a.m. and Barber still has not stopped. He heads up the exit ramp then breaks left across a median and crashes. You can hear Trooper Garry Guild yell, “he crashed, he crashed." Barber gets up but ignores Guild's commands to get on the ground and a struggle ensues. The trooper tries to gain control of the driver, but soon another vehicle pulls up. Barber's brother, Travis Wise runs toward the scene and puts the officer in a chokehold. Meantime, Barber tries to grab Guild's weapon. Around 8:44 a.m., two Good Samaritans pull over and run to Guild's rescue. Both Barber and Wise were arrested at the scene. They face numerous charges, with Assault Strangulation carrying the most weight at 10 years if found guilty.
El Paso boy united with service dog and former Vermont state trooper who changed his life
An El Paso boy was united with a friend that will change his life forever. It’s a story about a boy finding his best friend, a mother looking for hope, and a man with a dog across the country wanting to change a life. And this story all started with a laugh. Tristan Siller is a five-year-old boy who fell in love with a dog named Max. Max is a former K-9 Unit dog for the Vermont state troopers. “The first time we saw a max video was when Tristan was in the hospital,” said Monica Siller, Tristan’s mother. Siller said her son suffers from a condition. “He was supposed to be admitted into a hospital to start a diet, but he was admitted because he had a twenty-minute seizure,” Siller said. During Tristan’s time in the hospital, his mother said he found comfort from Max the dog. “We were on Facebook and that video showed up, and I showed it to Tristan,” Siller said. “Once I showed him, it was like a complete change. He went from being sad and upset to this super happy laughing baby.” Max’s owner, Nick Arlington is a former Vermont state trooper. He recorded a video of Max chasing water from a hose and posted it on Max’s Facebook page. Siller recorded her son laughing at the video of Max, and then sent it to Arlington. “She told me he has autism with seizures, and I ended up asking her if he had a service dog or not,” Arlington said. Arlington and Max helped Siller raise $10,000 in order for Tristan to get his own service dog to help with his seizures. Siller recently drove to Colorado Springs to get her son’s service Dog, Mooshu. Mooshu is a new friend for Tristan, and their relationship is a start to a new life. “Mooshu is a very good protector,” Siller said. “As soon as he sees Tristan on the floor Mooshu runs to see if he’s okay. Tristan calms down much faster now that Mooshu is around.” But that isn’t the only person who is around. “I never actually met Monica or Tristan in real life,” Arlington said. “I figured that now that I live in Florida, it’s only a 24-hour drive to El Paso.” Arlington came to El Paso to see Tristan and Mooshu together for the first time. “It’s so awesome that he’s here,” Siller said. “We get to actually meet the person who potentially saved my son’s life.” “Just to see the happiness that Mooshu brings to Tristan is incredible,” Arlington said. “That’s what it’s about.” Siller said she couldn’t be more grateful for all the help Arlington provided. As for Arlington, he is retired from the Vermont state police along with his dog Max. They are both living in Florida. “Max is doing well,” Arlington said. “He’s enjoying the retirement life by gaining 20 pounds.”
Three State Troopers injured in pursuit
Three Kentucky State Troopers were injured in a pursuit in Harlan County on Friday, including one who was pinned between a guardrail and the pursuit pickup truck, according to KSP. Troopers and bystanders worked together to free Trooper Kenny Abner from being trapped by the pursuit vehicle. KSP Sergeant Jay Perkins was injured trying to free Trooper Abner, according to State Police. Trooper Abner was taken by ambulance to Harlan ARH by ambulance. Sergeant Perkins and Trooper Andy Soltess, who was hit by the pursuit vehicle, were taken to Harlan ARH by car, according to investigators. All three Troopers sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to State Police. Investigators say it all began around 2:48 p.m. when State Police received a call from Harlan ARH Psychiatric Center stating that a woman had walked off from their facility wearing a brown shirt and blue jeans. While Troopers were looking for the woman, another call came in at 2:53 p.m. from Cumberland Valley Engineering, reporting a white Chevrolet pickup truck had been stolen from behind their business by a woman matching the description of the woman Troopers were looking for. Trooper Jared Boggs, Trooper Kenny Abner and Trooper Andy Soltess spotted the pickup on US 421 and tried to pull it over, according to KSP. Investigators say the woman driving the pickup refused to stop and led Troopers on a low-speed pursuit for approximately 8-miles, according to State Police. The pursuit ended on Black Bottom Road in the Loyall community of Harlan County, according to investigators. As Troopers were trying to negotiate with the pickup truck’s driver, 30-year old Rhonda Johnson, of Loyall, hit the driver’s side of Trooper Boggs’ vehicle, according to investigators. The pickup then dropped off the road, pinning Trooper Abner between the guardrail and the truck. Trooper Soltess was also hit by the pickup, according to State Police. Once Johnson was taken into custody, she was returned to Harlan ARH, according to KSP. She is charged with three counts of attempted murder (Police Officer), theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of criminal mischief 1st degree, fleeing and evading police 1st degree (motor vehicle), and operating on a suspended license, according to investigators. She was eventually lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center, according to State Police.
Florida Highway Patrol trooper critically injured in Miami-Dade crash
A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper was critically injured on Friday while performing speed enforcement duties in Miami-Dade county. Trooper Carlos Rosario, 40, was watching for speeders along with two other troopers at 9:30 a.m. when the driver of a 2014 Chevrolet HHR SUV lost control of his vehicle for unknown reasons and struck Rosario and two parked patrol cars. Rosario was outside of his vehicle at the time of the accident. Trooper Rosario received severe injuries and was flown by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center. He is in critical condition. The driver and passenger of the SUV received minor injuries and were cleared at the scene by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. An investigation into the crash is pending.
Georgia state trooper finds 3 abandoned puppies and then adopts them
A Georgia State Patrol trooper took three canine vagrants into custody — and then he and a few of his colleagues adopted the abandoned puppies as their own. The Georgia Department of Public Safety posted on its Facebook page Tuesday that trooper Jordan Ennis found three puppies while patrolling a southwest Atlanta subdivision on Monday. He was driving in the abandoned subdivision known as a dumping site for stolen cars when he spotted the puppies in a briar patch. The agency says Ennis and his police dog, Tek, brought the puppies into headquarters. They were promptly adopted by Ennis and three members of the headquarters staff. The agency says Ennis suspected no one was coming for the puppies, prompting the adoption. The puppies are a mix of unknown breeds.
National Guard, State Police and PennDOT escort infant in need of heart surgery
A 23-month-old boy in need of emergency heart surgery was driven 88 miles by ambulance through Tuesday’s snowstorm to Geisinger Medical Center. Plow trucks, state police vehicles and the Pennsylvania National Guard led the way in an emergency escort across Interstate 80. There’s no word yet on the boy’s condition. “At approximately 9:30 a.m. today Lehigh Valley Health Network Pocono made a request to the PennDOT Monroe County Maintenance office for a plow truck escort for an ambulance to transport a 23-month-old child from their facility in Stroudsburg to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for an emergency heart surgery,” said Sean Brown, press officer, PennDOT District 5. The convoy left LVHN Pocono at approximately 10:15 a.m., according to Brown. Two plow trucks led the ambulance, joined by a state police sport utility vehicle and two National Guard Humvees. Cpl. Adam Reed, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police, said the convoy reached Geisinger’s Danville campus about 2:40 p.m. Roads were snowy and slick as Tuesday's storm dumped snow nearing 20 inches in parts of Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. Officials didn’t say how fast the vehicles were able to travel or if any stops had to be made along the way. “They got there safely and as conditions permitted, which was the most important thing,” Reed said. “We don't have any updates right now on this story, as patient privacy is a priority,” said Joseph Stender, Geisinger communications officer. Gov. Tom Wolf spoke about the escort during a live address about the snowstorm Tuesday afternoon. “The child went to the hospital in East Stroudsburg. It was determined he needed a transplant and had to go back to Danville to Geisinger to get it,” Wolf said. “PennDOT led the way with a plow train. State police went with the group to make sure they were safe. The National Guard followed to make sure if anything happened they could help. Local emergency responders and medical practitioners made sure the baby was safe while they made the trip,” Wolf said. “We’ve done what we can at the commonwealth and we wish the best of luck to doctors at Geisinger for their life-saving work,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richard during the press conference.