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Police: Kids used as human shields


– An Indiana woman has been charged with using her five children as a human shield against police searching her home for a man wanted on a warrant for violating parole in Arkansas.

The Journal & Courier reports that 33-year-old Rachelle Billups was released on bond from Tippecanoe County Jail in Lafayette Friday after she was charged with neglect of a dependent, assisting a criminal and resisting law enforcement.

Billups didn’t return a phone call Saturday.

A probable cause affidavit says police arrested Billups Feb. 15 after the suspect allegedly hid in a closet upstairs at her Lafayette home while Billups blocked officers from the staircase by surrounding herself on the landing with her five children, ages 9 to 15.


County auditor quits over budget mistake

The Floyd County auditor has resigned after the state finance agency refused to certify the southern Indiana county’s budget.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reports that Republican Darin Coddington announced his resignation Friday. The Associated Press couldn’t reach Coddington for comment Saturday.

Floyd County Council Chairman John Schellenberger says an estimated $2.4 million budget deficit that was discovered earlier this year played a role in Coddington’s departure.

Last month, the Department of Local Government Finance expressed concern about errors in last June’s tax settlement and estimates in the county’s proposed $11 million general fund.

Schellenberger told other officials the county could run out of funds by September.

Republicans will hold a caucus to complete Coddington’s term, which runs through 2014.

DWI charge dropped for diabetic trucker

Prosecutors have dropped a drunken driving charge against a diabetic trucker who insisted his erratic driving wasn’t caused by alcohol but an emergency medical condition.

The Monroe County prosecutor’s office dismissed the driving while intoxicated charge during a hearing last week at which 48-year-old Timothy Buselt of Bloomington pleaded guilty to reckless driving. The Herald-Times reports that Buselt was ordered to pay more than $200 in court costs and public defender fees.

Buselt was arrested in October 2010 after another motorist reported a semi weaving along State Road 37.

Buselt maintained his erratic driving was caused by an emergency medical condition caused by untreated hyperglycemia that results in weakness, fruity-scented breath and confusion. He says he’d planned to stop at a truck stop but was arrested before he reached it.


Boy, 5, dies after car rolls into pond

A 5-year-old boy has died after he was rescued from a car submerged under water for more than 30 minutes.

WKRC-TV in Cincinnati reports that crews were called to Surrey Court in Florence around 6 p.m. Friday after reports a car had rolled into a pond with the boy, a 9-year-old girl and a dog trapped inside. The family had been preparing to leave the house.

The girl and dog survived, but the boy was unable to escape. Crews rescued him after about half an hour and transported him to Children’s Hospital, where he later died.

A witness told the station anyone within shouting distance was in the water trying to save the boy.

Police say they aren’t sure if the car was running or shifted into neutral.

Toledo plans new downtown park

Toledo’s mayor says work will begin this summer to create a new downtown park that he hopes one day will include a stage for concerts.

The city is using about $2 million leftover from a state loan for work on the site along the Maumee River.

Work on the latest phase will include landscaping, seating areas and parking.

Mayor Mike Bell tells The Blade newspaper in Toledo that the city will need to raise private money for the concert amphitheater and a water play area for children. He says the park will help with economic development in Toledo’s downtown.

Tax checkoff helps historical society

Eleven projects are benefiting from about $114,000 collected in the first year of a new state income-tax check-off for the Ohio Historical Society.

The projects include improving and documenting several historic sites, digitizing atlases and rare color film footage and producing a re-enactment of the first anti-slavery convention in Ohio.

The historical society says nearly 17,000 Ohioans contributed last year to the History Fund for the 2011 tax year. Those contributions fund a competitive grant program.

“It is proving to be a very popular and worthy program that helps history-related organizations across Ohio fund the projects that are meaningful to their communities,” executive director Burt Logan said in a statement.

The 11 recipients were chosen from 64 applications.