2015 was a busy year


Our top 10 stories featured tragedy and hope

By Chris Pugh - [email protected]



Bailey Douglas, 9, of Bucyrus, gives a high five to a firefighter with the Jefferson Township Fire Department during the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival.


The Wheeler family smiles during a fund-raiser held in November for the family at Galion Pizza Hut. The fund-raiser is for Melanie, second from left, a sixth-grader at Galion Middle School, who was recently diagnosed with four tumors and is fighting cancer. The family includes from left, Tom, Melanie, Marci and Bri. The eatery donated $3 from each buffet to the family to help the family with medical costs.


2015 was a big year for news in Crawford County and surrounding areas.

Here are summaries of the top 10 most-read stories on our web site throughout the year.

It will be interesting to see what 2016 brings to the area.

Here are our Top 10:

10. The overnight break-in of Extreme Tec ATV on Lee Street in Mt. Gilead in August led to a police chase that ended with two minors arrested and one dead.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 27, Mt. Gilead police officers spotted suspicious individuals along a railroad track near Westview Drive in the village, said Morrow County Sheriff Steve Brenneman.

Officers apprehended one of the individuals, a 16-year-old male, on foot.

According to the release, officers from the Cardington Police Department and the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area.

Before 3 a.m. authorities pursued the other suspects, in a stolen ATV from Extreme Tec, on Morrow County Road 9. The ATV overturned when the driver attempted to turn left at a high rate of speed onto state Route 309.

The driver, Devon Abbott, 17, whose last known address was Marengo, was transported to Galion Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

9. The Galion Police Department investigated a reported drive-by shooting in April. According to reports, the incident took place just after midnight April 1 on 540 E. Walnut St.

“We received a call of shots fired and responded,” Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield said. “We found that the resident’s 1996 Jeep Cherokee had two bullet holes on the front of the vehicle. We recovered four, .45 caliber casings in the area. We recovered a partial bullet fragment under the vehicle and most of a bullet inside the right front tire. We examined the house during the day and determined that the house had not been struck.”

Saterfield added that a witness said a vehicle drove past the house and was involved in the shooting, but was unable to get a specific description of the vehicle.

8. The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash last year that took the life of a groom on his wedding day and a bridesmaid in his wedding was sentenced to eight years in prison in December in Wyandot County Common Pleas Court. Timothy N. Tebbe, 35, of Nevada, apologized for his actions on Oct. 12, 2014, that resulted in the deaths of two of his friends and severely injured a third.

Andrew M. Bloomfield, 27, died just hours after saying his vows with Ruth D. Driskill Bloomfield, both from Galion, who was seriously injured in the crash occurred in Antrim Township in Wyandot County.

Elizabeth M. Shelton, 26, of Bucyrus was pronounced dead at the scene by Wyandot County Coroner Joseph Sberna.

7. The story of a 12-year-old Galion girl who was diagnosed with four tumors captured the heart of the city.

About 400 attended a welcome home gathering in October in Heise Park for Melanie Wheeler, a sixth-grader at Galion Middle School, after she was released earlier in the day from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The event was planned on a few hours notice on Wednesday.

Jean A. Wheeler, grandmother of Melanie, walked down the line of people at the event thanking them for coming out.

“I know she’s home. I know she’s safe,” she said.

6. A Galion police officer who was photographed by a passerby, while sleeping in his vehicle received a 15-day suspension in September.

This was the second infraction for Dan Tinch, a police officer in the department, Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield said.

Tinch had a driving infraction while at work last December, he said.

“We filed disciplinary procedures with the union and the city,” Saterfield said. “We followed with discipline according to our policies. He’s a good officer. The purpose of discipline is to correct inappropriate behavior.”

5. Three were charged after the death of a Galion man who reportedly died in October from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.

Those charged in the death of Fredrick Saunders Sr., 68, of Galion. included the man’s son Fredrick Saunders Jr., 36, of Galion. The son’s wife, Marla, 36, was charged with complicity to commit murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, as well as tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, both third-degree felonies.

Carla R. Willoughby, 36, Galion, has been charged with complicity to murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.

4. Galion gains national attention in prayer controversy. The Tiger football has been able to maintain its current tradition of praying after games. The team gained national attention after a Inquirer video showing the team praying was shown on the TODAY Show on NBC during a story about prayer during high school games.

3. Drug busts were big throughout Galion and Crawford County in 2015, as city and county officials were busy making arrests and prosecuting the cases in Crawford County courts. The activity resulted in a record 399 indictments in the county this year, many drug-related.

2. An incident between the Galion Marching Band and the River Valley football team before the Homecoming game at Unckrich Stadium in October left band members with a sour note.

As the band, filled with high school students and alumni, marched across the field during pre-game festivities, the River Valley team didn’t move out of the way, which led to an odd scene of the Galion band marching and playing around the team as it did its warmups.

According to several Galion officials, the field was supposed to be cleared at 6:30 p.m. for the band, but the River Valley team remained on the field.

River Valley Athletic Director Barry Dutt said the team was told about the ceremony before Friday, but weren’t made aware of where to go Friday night.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” Dutt said. “The football team could have been asked to move down the field. We would have been glad to move down.”

1. Two Galion men were arrested in connection with holding an Ontario family hostage and forcing the husband to rob his own bank were arrested in December in Galion.

Taylor Hoam, 18, 584 N. Union St., Galion, and Chris Hill, 23, also of Galion, were arrested during a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon in front of the Circle K in Galion by officials from the Cleveland branch of the FBI Cleveland Division of the FBI, Mansfield and Canton resident offices, along with officers from the Ontario Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

Bailey Douglas, 9, of Bucyrus, gives a high five to a firefighter with the Jefferson Township Fire Department during the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival.
http://galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Bucyrus-Brat-Fest-2015-16-.jpgBailey Douglas, 9, of Bucyrus, gives a high five to a firefighter with the Jefferson Township Fire Department during the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival.

The Wheeler family smiles during a fund-raiser held in November for the family at Galion Pizza Hut. The fund-raiser is for Melanie, second from left, a sixth-grader at Galion Middle School, who was recently diagnosed with four tumors and is fighting cancer. The family includes from left, Tom, Melanie, Marci and Bri. The eatery donated $3 from each buffet to the family to help the family with medical costs.
http://galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_wheeler.jpgThe Wheeler family smiles during a fund-raiser held in November for the family at Galion Pizza Hut. The fund-raiser is for Melanie, second from left, a sixth-grader at Galion Middle School, who was recently diagnosed with four tumors and is fighting cancer. The family includes from left, Tom, Melanie, Marci and Bri. The eatery donated $3 from each buffet to the family to help the family with medical costs.
Our top 10 stories featured tragedy and hope

By Chris Pugh

[email protected]

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