Douglas Prade remains free; Tallmadge Parks and Rec manager says charges are "misunderstanding"; reward for Akron hit-skip driver's identity: News Around Your Area

Rebecca Reis | Web Editor Published:

Here are some of today's top headlines from around the area, including a Tallmadge Parks and Recreation manager says arrest and charges are a "misunderstanding," Douglas Prade to remain free until Ohio Supreme Court ruling and a $2,000 reward for the identity of an Akron hit-skip driver.

HIT-SKIP: Summit County sheriff's officials announced a $2,000 reward for the identity of a driver that struck a University of Akron student and a deputy in a McDonald's parking lot on East Exchange Street earlier about 3 a.m. on April 13, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Deputies say the vehicle is believed to be a bronze of gray GMC-type midsize SUV and was driven by a black male wearing a light colored shirt, while his passenger was a black female wearing a dark-colored dress. Anyone with information can contact deputies at 330-808-7033, or anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS(2677) or by texting TIPSCO plus the tip to 274637. Click here to read more at ohio.com.

ROUTE 8: Though the Ohio Department of Transportation declined a proposal from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study that requested state Route 8 south of Macedonia be redesigned as Interstate 380, officials are asking ODOT to reconsider, according to the Nordonia Hills News-Leader. Six mayors, two Summit County officials and AMATS Director Jason Segedy penned an April 10 letter asking ODOT Director Jerry Wray asking ODOT to consider the long term-benefits to the region and included options to reduce costs by having local government bear the cost of routine maintenance in the short-term and explore methods to secure local or federal funding for replacing existing Route 8 signage with Interstate 380 signage. The letter also requested a meeting with ODOT in Columbus to discuss the proposal. Click here to read more at the-news-leader.com.

DOUGLAS PRADE: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this morning that former Akron police Capt. Douglas Prade can remain free until it decides whether to rule on his release from prison in January 2013, after Judge Judy Hunter's ruling to release him based on new DNA evidence exonerating him in the murder of his ex-wife was thrown out by the Ninth District Appeals Court in March, according to The Plain Dealer. Prade's ex-wife, Dr. Margo Prade, was shot six times in her van in the parking lot of her office in 1997, and new DNA tests on a bite mark on her lab coat exonerated Prade of the crime. The 3-0 decision says that while the results of the new DNA testing appear to prove Prade's innocence, the results only generated more questions than answers and did not prove Prade's innocence unequivocally. Prade served about 15 years of a life sentence in prison before his release. Click here to read more at cleveland.com.

VADXX ENGERGY: Startup company Vadxx Energy broke ground in southeast Akron on Tuesday for a new plant that will convert scrap plastic into liquid fuel, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The plant plans to melt 20,000 tons of plastic a year and should be up sometime in October, while the equipment will be installed by the first quarter of next year, according to an official. The plant will transform 60 tons of plastic a day — about three semi-trailer's worth — that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill into 300 barrels of petrochemical products that can be used for diesel fuel and lubricants. The plant will melt the plastic and collect the vapor from that process, condensing it back into liquid hydrocarbons. The city did not charge Vadxx for the 5-acre lot on the corner of East Waterloo and Kelly Avenue and instead will receive a 1 percent stake in profits. CLick here to read more at ohio.com.

TALLMADGE PARKS AND REC: Tallmadge Parks and Recreation manager David Cooper says his arrest and resulting seven misdemeanor counts of trespassing are a "misunderstanding," and that his unauthorized trips into Summa Rehabilitation Services after hours were simply to use the restroom because it's more private, according to the Tallmadge Express. Cooper pleaded guilty to the seven counts, and is on paid leave while awaiting trial June 3. Tallmadge police say Cooper is shown on video surveillance for Summa Rehabilitation Services at the Recreation Center seven times between March 4 and around March 24 during days and times when the facility was not open. Cooper was originally the liaison between city and Summa Health Services when it moved into the Recreation Center in 2010 but was stripped of that duty in 2012, and the lease requires the city to give 24 hours notice before an employee enters. Cooper has been the Parks and Recreation manager since 2008. Click here to read more at tallmadgeexpress.com.

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