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Kaleb McLaughlin recognized at Rose Bowl parade

Kaleb McLaughlin recognized at Rose Bowl parade

Kim and Kevin Oxender are pictured in front of the Donate Life float at the Rose Bowl Parade. The Pioneer couple encourage others to give the gift of life through tissue and organ donation. Their son, Kaleb, was killed in an accident and was an organ and tissue donor. Courtesy photo

PIONEER – In the three and a half years since their son Kaleb’s death in a motorcycle accident, Kim and Kevin Oxender have turned a personal tragedy into a blessing for others. Through the donation of organs and tissue, Kaleb has helped a blind person see, a burn victim heal, as well as many others.

This year, the Oxenders have taken that message all the way to the Rose Bowl Parade.

The family works with Community Tissue Service of Toledo and have a motorcycle memorial ride in honor of Kaleb each June. Recently, they were contacted by the Service and asked to participate in the Donate Life float, which would be the 12th entry of the Rose Bowl parade.

The Oxenders were asked if they would like to have a floragraph of Kaleb on the float. There were 60 floragraph honorees from across the United States represented on the float.

“It was an experience we will never forget, very emotional,” Kaleb’s mother, Kim, said. “It was a blessing to meet the other families, it was good to have a support system that knows what it’s like to walk the road we are on.

“The float riders and walkers were people who have received an organ, eye or tissue donation and also living donors. A few of the donor families were blessed to meet the recipients of their loved one’s gift! We pray that one day we will get that opportunity.

“Our son is no longer here, but he does live on through other people, making their lives better,” she said. “Kaleb is a hero. We want to keep Kaleb’s cause alive by letting people know how important it is to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.”

First baby of 2017

First baby of 2017

Matt and Abbey Peters, Montpelier, welcomed a new addition into their family on New Year’s Day. Macie Lou Peters was born at 12:33 a.m. Sunday, weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. Macie Lou was the first baby born in 2017 at Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers-Bryan. The proud parents took home a prize pack generously donated by local sponsors. JENNIFER J. HELLARD/Staff

A Kunkle man's New Year's Eve joy ride may land him a room in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio. Jade W. Herzog, 41, was arrested minutes after the New Years Eve celebration Sunday morning following a six-day crime spree that spanned five counties in three states with at least four vehicle thefts, a home invasion and assault on several police officers during two high speed pursuits. "He's looking at a dozen felony charges here and several more in Fulton County," Williams County Sheriff Steve Towns said in a phone interview Monday morning. "He still has the original drug charges in Hillsdale so we're assuming his motivation was same kind of substance abuse issue." Herzog allegedly absconded from supervision on Dec. 26, while on medical leave from the Hillsdale County Jail (in Michigan), Towns said. He was at the Hillsdale County hospital when he simply "walked away" at approximately 1 p.m. On Dec. 29, Herzog was identified as a suspect in a vehicle theft in Stryker and allegedly drove to Kunkle where "he was suspected of a home invasion in order to obtain a cell phone, Towns said. The Stryker vehicle was located near Lake Seneca at noon on Saturday and a second vehicle was reported stolen from the same area a short time later. "Some time between 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Friday) Herzog is believed to have stolen other vehicles in Hillsdale and Branch counties in Michigan, and Steuben County, Indiana," Towns said. Later that day, he attempted to use a stolen credit card at a hotel north of Wauseon, at Ohio Turnpike Exit 34. A hotel employee called 911 but Herzog fled the scene before Fulton County Sheriff's deputies arrived. A Wauseon police officer spotted the vehicle stolen from Lake Seneca and attempted at traffic stop. Herzog rammed the patrol car and fled west into Williams County. He allegedly stole a third vehicle in Alvordton and when it broke down on County Road 20 he stoled a fourth, Towns said. That fourth vehicle was a Chevy S-10 pickup truck and the theft report came in at 12:15 a.m. New Years Day, Towns said. Several people tracking the radio traffic on police scanners reported seeing it back in the Kunkle area. Deputies intercepted the vehicle on County Road O, between County Road 15 and County Road 16, Towns said. Herzog tried to ram another patrol car and blew out a rear tire in the process. The pursuit continued down County Road O, "at a high rate of speed," Towns said. Herzog attempted to ram a second patrol car when he lost control and crashed into a ditch. He was taken into custody and transported by Williams County EMS to Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers-Bryan, then transferred to the Mercy Saint Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. He remained there as of Monday afternoon under protective observation with non-life threatening injuries. "The hospital has it's own police force and they'll let us know when he's ready to be picked up," Towns said. "He has a long history of involvement with us and the Multi Area Narcotics Task Force." No officers were injured during the pursuit.

Pioneer man killed in 3-vehicle crash

An accident Wednesday morning led to the death of a Pioneer man.

According to Pioneer police:

At about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, an individual driving an Oldsmobile Achieva traveling southbound on State Street in Pioneer reportedly failed to maintain an assured and clear distance, pushing a 2006 Mercedes attempting to turn left on Pioneer Street into the northbound lane.

Once over the lane, the Mercedes was struck by a northbound commercial truck, throwing the driver from the vehicle.

The driver and passenger of the Mercedes were transported via medical helicopter to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo where the driver died. Police were unsure of the passenger’s condition as of Friday afternoon.

The driver of the Oldsmobile and the commercial vehicle were treated and released at the scene.

Pioneer police and fire departments and Williams County EMS responded to the scene. The Ohio Highway State Patrol also responded to assist with traffic.

Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to have been a factor.

Authorities have not identified the individuals involved in the crash as the incident remains under investigation by Pioneer Police. The driver of the Buick will be charged with an assured clear distance ahead violation, with more severe charges pending the investigation, according to police.

“We still have to talk with all parties involved,” Pioneer Police Chief Timothy Livengood said Thursday.