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Breaking news, viral video highlight year's web top 10

  • Rt-2-MVA-4-jpg

    A Lifeflight helicopter takes off from a multiple vehicle crash on Route 2 east at Middle Ridge Road Aug. 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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Car wrecks, crime and a video that went viral were some of the elements of the year’s top 10 online stories, as measured by web traffic.

Here’s the list, based on total amount of page views:

10. Dr. Mark Wladecki killed while riding bicycle in duathlon, Aug. 13 (29,438 page views)

An Avon Lake doctor with a medical practice in Westlake was participating in a Sandusky County road race when he was struck and thrown from his bike, dying from his injuries.

9. Two men flown to MetroHealth after early-morning stabbing in Amherst, Nov. 29 (29,866 page views)

Early on the morning of Nov. 29, police were called to reports of an apparent stabbing victim in a parking lot downtown. In addition to the victim, police found a trail of blood leading to a broken-in door at another local business, and another stabbing victim inside. Both were taken to local hospitals, and then flown by LifeFlight to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

8. Man shot, killed in Elyria, Oct. 1 (31,867 page views)

Elyria police were called to Southwyck Apartments on West River Road North for a report of shots fired. There, they found Zachary Mason, 20, wounded in the parking lot. Police say Mason was part of an argument on the landing of one of the buildings. He was shot there, and managed to stumble outside before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.

7. Family lives horror of suicide, July 15 (33,049 page views)

Brenden Rich-Beckett, who would have been a junior in Elyria High School, was found hanging in his family home June 30. He died five days later, and writer Rini Jeffers caught up with a family trying to cope while wondering why.

6. Body found near trash bin at Chestnut Commons identified, Oct. 12 (35,054 page views)

Elyria police were called after a body was found near a trash bin not far from the Elyria Walmart. The dead man was identified as Jeffrey Libengood, 45. He was surrounded by aerosol cans in what appeared to police to be a huffing incident.

5. One injured, one dead after early-morning Pittsfield Township crash, March 23 (38,844 page views)

Police theorize that Tina Combs of Wakeman could have been driving as fast as 100 mph, possibly trying to beat the light, as she headed east on U.S. 20 toward Route 58. Her 2001 Chevrolet Blazer collided with a 2006 Ford F-350 truck driven by Cole Lewis of Oberlin. Lewis was uninjured. Combs was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger, Willard Combs, was extricated from the Blazer and flown to MetroHealth. The crash led to the closure of the intersection for several hours – and canceled classes for the day at the nearby Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

4. Police seek man in 20s in connection with North Ridgeville shooting, Jan. 5 (40,892 page views)

Jacqueline Dienes was sitting in her car smoking a cigarette on a lunch break from her temporary job at Invacare on Jan. 4 when she was shot several times. Two Lorain men, Christian Martinez, 20, and Jonathan Barnette, 21, were arrested a week later and are awaiting trial. Police aren’t sure what connection they had with Dienes.

3. Girl testifies in child rape case, Nov. 29 (48,968 page views)

Jacob Champion was accused of raping his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son, and on Nov. 28, the boy’s 9-year-old sister was called to testify against him in his bench trial. Her testimony also featured the use of Farley, the county prosecutor’s new facility dog, acquired to be used to make testimony easier and less traumatic for crime victims or witnesses. Champion was found not guilty the followintg day by Judge John Miraldi.

2. 12-year-old girl dies from injuries in Route 2 crash; charges pending, Aug. 9 (62,728 page views)

As traffic slowed down on Route 2 for a car fire on Aug. 8, a box truck rear-ended a Jeep Liberty, as well as struck several other cars. Two children in the back of the Jeep had to be extricated and were flown to MetroHealth. Mackenzie Lansberry, 12, of Sheffield, died in the emergency room, and Daniel Turner, 21 months, died a week later. Robert Eckenrode, 48, the driver of the box truck, was indicted on multiple charges in November related to the crash.

1. Lorain police officer fired after stopping and detaining daughter and her boyfriend, June 20 (75,255 page views)

On April 16, Lorain police officer John Kovach Jr. made a traffic stop on West 34th Street. Kovach not only didn’t respond to a road rage call on Leavitt Road, he used the stop to harass his daughter’s boyfriend, as shown on dashcam video obtained by the Chronicle. Lorain police determined Kovach’s actions were an abuse of his authority and fired him.

Contact Vince Guerrieri at (440) 329-7124 or vguerrieri@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @vinceguerrieri.


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