The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Good Samaritan has car stolen 5.21

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It isn’t exactly what Monica Pennington had in mind when she received her federal economic stimulus check.

The Morenci resident cashed the check, placed the money in her purse and later the purse was stolen.

But it’s much worse than that. The purse was in her car, and that was stolen, too.

The incident that started May 6 came to somewhat of a close last Friday with the arrest of Miles Lancelot Thompson, 23, of Alvordton, Ohio. He faces five counts ranging from carjacking to unarmed robbery.

Pennington was driving home about 7 a.m. May 6 from her nursing job in Adrian when she saw an approaching car swerve on Sand Creek Highway.

“He swerved and I thought, ‘That’s going to be an accident,’” she said.

The driver seemed to gain control of the vehicle but suddenly the car was airborne and overturned off the road.

Pennington dialed 911 before she came to a stop and noticed smoke coming from the crashed vehicle. She couldn’t see any movement from inside the car and was asked by the 911 dispatcher for details about the location.

Pennington got out of her vehicle and started to walk toward the nearest intersection to read the street sign. That’s when she heard someone furiously kicking against the back door trying to get out.

She thought it was probably a passenger and maybe a child of the driver. A young man emerged with blood running down his cheek.

“He was in pretty bad shape,” she said. “He tore off his jacket and came running toward me. He looked confused, a little delirious.”

By now she was wondering, “Where is the ambulance? Why haven’t the police arrived?”

“He grabbed ahold of me and started stomping on my foot,” she said.

He reached his hand inside the partially lowered window of her 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix, trying to break open the window. She knew then he wanted to steal her car.

Another passerby arrived, comforted Pennington and walked her away as the accident victim sped off in the Grand Prix.

She received reports about the investigation—the driver stole gasoline in Montpelier, Ohio, was spotted in Blissfield a day later, was last seen in Alvordton—but the story went cold until she heard from police in Sherman, Texas. Her car was found there with Illinois license plates and the driver was to be extradited to Michigan within 10 days.

After the theft, Pennington was visited by police from Pioneer, Ohio, and she identified the accident victim from a photograph. The night before the theft, she was told, Thompson had been stopped by police who suspected driving while under the influence of alcohol. He was released with a promise that he would return home.

Later they learned that he had stolen a car owned by the mayor of Pioneer. It was that 2008 Chrysler Aspen that Pennington watched leave the road and roll over.

And what about a future role as a Good Samaritan?

“I would probably stop again, but I think I’ll stay in my car until the police come,” she said. “I wasn’t injured. It could have been a lot worse.”

And she shudders to think about the situation had her children been in her car.

“He was desperate,” she said. “He was in my vehicle and gone so fast that I hardly knew what was going on.”

From now on, her purse goes with her rather than getting placed under the seat.

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