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Driver Charged With Aggravated Vehicular Homicide After Hitting Firefighter And Fleeing Scene

Bratenahl, OH – A Cleveland firefighter was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while responding to a rollover crash on Saturday evening.

The incident occurred on Interstate 90 near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 19, WJW reported.

Members of the Cleveland Division of Fire (CDF) were assisting with a rollover crash at that location when a CDF firefighter was hit by a vehicle, the Bratenahl Police Department (BPD) said in a press release on Sunday.

“The vehicle and driver did not stop and fled the scene at a high rate of speed,” the BPD said.

The wounded firefighter was rushed to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The victim was later identified as 51-year-old CDF Firefighter Johnny Tetrick, WJW reported.

The BPD tracked down the suspect accused of fatally hitting the 27-year CDF veteran and arrested him on Sunday.

He was charged with failing to stop after an accident on a public roadway and aggravated vehicular homicide, police said in an updated media release.

The suspect has been identified as 40-year-old Leander Bissell.

Bissell’s initial court appearance was scheduled to take place on Monday.

The Eastside Department Group Enforcement Accident Investigation Unit is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal collision with the assistance of the Cleveland Police Department’s Accident Investigation Unit, according to the BPD.

“This is a tragedy. A tragedy for Firefighter Tetrick’s family and friends, but also for the Division of Fire and the city of Cleveland,” Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin said, according to WJW. “We offer our deepest condolences to his family.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered Ohio state and U.S. flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Firefighter Tetrick’s life of service, WJW reported.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Cleveland firefighter Johnny Tetrick and extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters,” Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said in a statement to The Plain Dealer.

“Firefighter Tetrick was devoted to his work as a first responder and was a much-loved member of his family and his community. Our prayers go out to his entire family as the city mourns the loss of a colleague and a dedicated public servant,” Bibb said.

Firefighter Tetrick leaves behind his wife and three daughters.

A fundraising page established to help his family in the wake of their loss has raised more than $19,000 so far.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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