Bratenahl police charge driver accused of killing Cleveland firefighter
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The driver accused of hitting and killing a Cleveland firefighter pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Cleveland Municipal Court Monday morning.
Leander Bissell, 40, of Cleveland, is the man police said hit Cleveland Firefighter then drove off.
He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and not stopping after an accident.
According to the police report, Bissell was drunk when he hit Cleveland Firefighter Johnny Tetrick, 51.
“The defendant allegedly drove after hitting the fireman, approximately 5 miles” said the prosecutor.
According to the judge, Bissell had a prior OVI arrest in 2011, and he’s been convicted numerous times for running red lights and stop signs.
Court records also show he has a significant criminal history, including felony drug trafficking convictions and misdemeanor convictions involving assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
The judge set Bissell’s bond at $500,000.
The accident happened around 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 on I-90 east near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Firefighter Tetrick was assisting with a rollover crash, when he was struck.
After the accident, Bissell fled the scene, said police.
Firefighter Tetrick, a 27 year veteran of the department, died from his injuries at University Hospitals just before 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19.
Several hours later, Cleveland police located the hit skip vehicle, a white Chevrolet Malibu, at the intersection of E. 152nd Street and Ridpath Avenue.
Bratenahl police said their officers were then called to the intersection, confirmed the damage to the vehicle and arrested Bissell around 12:20 a.m. Sunday at his home.
Union officials said Firefighter Tetrick’s funeral arrangements are pending and services are tentatively planned for either Nov. 26 or Nov. 27, at a large downtown venue.
According to a GoFundMe account, Firefighter Tetrick leaves behind three daughters.
On Sunday, Cleveland Fire Chief Anthony Luke said in a video statement the department is “still standing watch” and is ready to serve whenever they are called upon.
The Cleveland Cavaliers also had a moment of silence for Firefighter Tetrick prior to their home game against the Miami Heat Sunday evening.
Flags at all public buildings and grounds in Cuyahoga County as well as the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes State Office Tower were ordered to half-staff by Governor Mike DeWine until sunset on the day of Firefighter Tetrick’s funeral.
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