Monday, May 17, 1999


Motorcyclist dies after hitting car on I-75

        James Johnson, 51, of Crescent Springs died Sunday after his motorcycle crashed into the rear of a Chevrolet Blazer around 1:14 p.m. on northbound Interstate 75 approaching the Brent Spence Bridge.

        The northbound lanes remained closed for an hour and 20 minutes and the southbound lanes also were closed for a time so that Air Care could land and take Mr. Jones to University Hospital in Cincinnati, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

        Mr. Jones sustained head injuries in the crash. He was not wearing a helmet, said Covington Police Lt. Danny Miles.

        The driver of the sport utility vehicle was not injured.

SUV driver killed in crash near Franklin
        FRANKLIN — A 22-year-old Franklin man was killed early Sunday when he lost control of his Jeep Wrangler on Shaker Road and the vehicle flipped over on its top.

        The Ohio Highway Patrol said Ralph Ballard was driving north on Shaker Road, just outside of Franklin about 12:42 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle and went off the roadway, striking a culvert and a utility pole.

        Mr. Ballard, who had been drinking, was partially ejected from the vehicle, the highway patrol said. His passenger, Mary E. Velde, 27, of Franklin, was ejected from the vehicle. Neither person was wearing a seat belt, the highway patrol said.

        Ms. Velde was transported to Middletown Regional Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Mason police identify man dead in creek
        MASON — The man found face-down in a creek Saturday on Kings Mills Road was identified Sunday as 27-year-old Daniel E. Gerdes of Mason.

        Police were dispatched to the 200 block of Kings Mills Road at 6:44 p.m. Saturday to investigate a report of a body found in the creek by two fisherman. A preliminary investigation indicates the death was accidental, police said.

        The victim's body was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office for an autopsy. The case is under investigation.

        Anyone with any information may contact Detective Don Cope at the Mason Police Department at 398-5050.

Robbers confront IGA workers with guns
        District 2 police are investigating an aggravated robbery in which two men forced workers of an IGA on Madison Road into a storeroom at gunpoint.

        The incident occurred at 5 a.m. Sunday. No other information was available.

Possible mercury leak causes water warning
        NEW CARLISLE, Ohio — The fire department distributed bottled water Sunday to residents who were asked not to use city water because of a possible mercury leak at a well.

        The mercury was used as a seal to prevent water from entering an electric motor. Water Department workers trying to fix a 30-year-old pump on a city well discovered a broken seal Saturday, but there has been no indication of contamination, City Manager James Caplinger said.

        After the discovery, officials urged residents not to drink, cook with or bathe in city water, Mr. Caplinger said. It was not clear how long the water advisory would last, he said.

        Mercury was a common seal in older equipment, said Don Basham, a city maintenance mechanic.

        New Carlisle, a city of 7,000, is northeast of Dayton.

Little fuel found in plane that crashed
        MONTEZUMA, Ohio — A small plane that crashed, killing five skydivers and the pilot, was found with less than three gallons of fuel, The Lima News reported Sunday.

        The National Transportation Safety Board made the finding in a preliminary report. It is not expected to determine cause for months.

        Brian Rayner, an NTSB investigator, said the plane's engine is being examined, but he would not say whether the fuel level was considered dangerous.

        He did not have information about fuel consumption for the engine. It also was not clear whether fuel leaked during the descent.

        The May 9 crash involved members of Grand Lake Skydiving School, based at Lakefield Airport in west-central Ohio.

Libertarian candidate pushes for principles
        FINDLAY, Ohio — The Libertarian Party can attract more independent voters if members stand by conservative principles, the party's 2000 presidential candidate told state conventioneers.

        “Your weapon is your principles,” Jacob Hornberger said Saturday. “Without principles, you become just like the Democrats and Republicans.”

        The former Texas lawyer accused Democrats and Republicans of conspiring to keep Libertarians out of the political process through ballot access laws.

        Mr. Hornberger, who runs a Libertarian think tank near Washington, told the group of about 85 people they should guard against an erosion of freedoms outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

        “You should be able to do whatever you like, as long as you don't murder, steal, rape, burglarize, or defraud,” he said. “It is the role of government to protect these freedoms.”


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