–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: April 02, 2019
Don’t Drink and Drive is an axiom often heard, but not as often listened to. An often unnoticed line in the Sylvania Township police department’s monthly report has some information which might cause drivers to pay more attention to that statement.
In the first two months of this year, township police have issued 26 drunk driving citations. In the first two months last year, department officers had issued only four citations against drunk drivers.
Police Chief Paul Long said, on the one-year anniversary of his becoming chief, that the increase is not due to any specific direction he has given, but perhaps it is due to his overall message that uniformed officers on patrol should always be proactive. If there’s probable cause to stop a motorist, that stop could result in identifying a possible suspect in a burglary, someone involved in drugs and maybe a drunk driver. It could also be a community resident who just committed a minor infraction. “If so, maybe give him a warning, thank him for the cooperation and that’s that,” said Chief Long.
He stressed he is not looking for an intrusive police presence, but he wants officers to take action when it is called for. He noted that he has gone to shift-change, when the officers are assembled, and mentioned to them, among other things, “that we all know there are drunk drivers in our township right now.”
Along with saying that he reiterated that the increase isn’t due to him. Sometimes it’s just luck, bad for the driver, good for society, when a drunk driver turns a corner and suddenly finds he’s now being followed be a police car. Other times the turn is taken a block sooner or later and the officers are never aware of the drunk driver.
Chief Long added that he gets irritated when he hears members of the public refer to drunk driving as a somehow lesser offense.
“To me it’s a serious crime. People get killed. Don’t tell me it was an accident. The driver had too much to drink and then decided to get behind the wheel. It’s serious,” he stated.
The numbers suggest the department as a whole agrees.
Last leave/brush pickup
Sylvania Township crews will begin their one-time sweep of all township streets to collect brush and leaves beginning April 8.
Rob Nash, road superintendent, said that in addition to the normal winter woes, the township was hit with a late-season ice storm and then a wind storm so it is likely the chore will take longer this year than normal. He urged all residents to have brush and leaves at the street. but not in it. Brush and leaves should be separated, he said. Brush should be no longer than six feet, nor should it exceed six inches in diameter.
Although the sweep will begin April 8, it is difficult to project a schedule for completion, Nash said, although he assumes it will take about two weeks. It is also difficult to give people an estimate of when crews may reach a specific neighborhood because weather often causes interruptions in the process of collection.
Fire department accolades
“The effort, talent and dedication” of members of the Sylvania Township fire department were praised during a recognition at a recent meeting of township trustees. The words were spoken by a man with knowledge of firefighter/medics, Captain Brian DeGardeyn, a longtime member of the Cleveland Fire Department. He didn’t make his comments based on some formula, or the results of a test, but as the father-in-law of Keith Collett, 35, whose life was apparently lost on the floor of a friend’s apartment Jan. 20. Mr. Collett had been out with the friend helping others by shoveling and pushing cars stranded in the snow on that bitter day. He had been relaxing on a couch when his wife, Brittany, noticed signs of distress. She and the friend got him to the floor and she called her father. His primary word of instruction was “compression” to begin to rhythmically push on his chest.
He told trustees that he recalled being told Mr. Collett was not breathing and that he was turning blue. He began a race toward Toledo and said he learned later that his daughter was on the 28th compression when the first unit of the Sylvania Township Fire Department arrived.
According to Fire Chief Mike Ramm the firefighter/paramedics “found Mr. Collett lifeless…” They took over CPR and after two minutes delivered an electric shock to his heart. They then resumed CPR. After two more minutes they found that Mr. Collett had regained a heart rhythm on the monitor and a corresponding pulse. While paramedics were tending to cardiac issues a second unit of the Sylvania Township fire department had arrived and began working on airway management and IV access. Not long after that Mr. Collett showed “signs of attempting to breathe on his own and some purposeful movement in his arms.” He was given some sedation and taken to St. Anne’s Mercy Hospital.
Capt. DeGardeyn mentioned how unlikely the cardiac event was and pointed to Mr. Collett and said, “he looks like a professional athlete.” He added that he is aware of the “just doing my jo”” attitude of firefighters, “but sometimes you need to be recognized.”
In addition to his praise for the professionalism of the department he also praised them for allowing Mr. Collett’s friend to stay in the room as they worked. They not only allowed, but encouraged the friend to kneel near Mr. Collett’s head so he might hear the prayers his friend was offering.
Chief Ramm said that medically only about 10 percent of people survive such an episode. That Mr. Collett survived without neurological damage is rarer still.
Captain DeGardeyn concluded saying “I can’t thank you enough. That night your talent reached Cleveland.” He looked toward the trustees and added, “you’ve got a great department.”
Awarded certificates for their efforts are Lieutenants Jeff Bennett and Rod Standiford and Firefighter/Medics Fred Riggs, Scott Perry, Chris Wedge, Kyler Omey, Terry Detmer and Justin Weldon.