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Probation continues for man allegedly hit by police officer


ELYRIA — The man who was allegedly struck by Elyria police Officer Jay Loesch for telling the officer that he wished more police officers had died on the day Sgt. James Kerstetter was killed is getting another chance at probation after allegedly testing positive for cocaine.

Johnny Smith Jr., 43, was allowed to continue on community control, also known as probation, after Smith waived a probable cause hearing Wednesday, according to a representative for Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery.

Rothgery made the decision in a court order and no explanation was given, a staff member said.

The misdemeanor assault charge against Loesch — who was accused of punching Smith while Smith was handcuffed to a hospital bed at EMH Medical Center in Elyria — will be dropped if he completes a court-ordered diversion program, a visiting judge decided Aug. 25.

At that hearing, Smith asked that charges be dropped against Loesch.

Smith was at the hospital on Jan. 27 after being arrested in connection with the theft of steaks and beer from Apples grocery store on Cleveland Street. He was taken to the hospital so injuries sustained in the arrest could be checked out.

While he was there, the intoxicated Smith — he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.355, four times the legal limit for driving — made the comment about officers dying.

The city suspended Loesch for 10 days, five days of which he won’t have to serve unless he gets in trouble again in the next year.

The city’s insurance company paid Smith $50,000 to avoid a lawsuit he had planned to file.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

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