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Published: Friday, 10/22/2004

Girl, 14, arrested for rocks tossed from above I-280

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

On the same day a funeral was held for a woman killed by a metal plate tossed from a railroad overpass onto her vehicle, a 14-year-old girl was arrested for throwing and kicking stones from another East Toledo railroad overpass.

The girl, an eighth-grader at East Toledo Junior High School, said she was walking home Wednesday along a Norfolk Southern railroad overpass when she saw what she thought was a dead dog along the side of I-280 below. She said she decided to try and hit the carcass by throwing and kicking stones at it from the overpass.

Dispatchers at 911 received two cell phone calls about a girl matching her description on the Norfolk Southern bridge over I-280 near Front Street. The callers reported she was throwing rocks onto passing expressway traffic.

"I wasn't trying to hurt nobody," the teen told The Blade yesterday.

The incident surprised Officer Chuck Hymore, who arrested the girl and charged her in Lucas County Juvenile Court with delinquency in connection with criminal trespass and delinquency in connection with criminal mischief, both misdemeanors.

Norfolk Southern police also are going to charge her with criminal trespass, said Rudy Husband, a railroad spokesman.

"I couldn't believe it," Officer Hymore said of the teen's actions, noting the incident occurred less than a week after the death Oct. 14 of 42-year-old Dorothy Minggia.

The nurse's aide and mother of two died shortly after 11 p.m. when a 24-pound metal plate was dropped from a railroad overpass onto her westbound car along South Ravine Parkway, just west of I-280.

The plate shattered her windshield and struck her in the face and chest. She was driving home from her job at Lutheran Home on Wheeling Street when the assault occurred from an overpass just a short distance away and along the same railroad line as the one traveled by the 14-year-old girl.

A Lucas County grand jury yesterday indicted Jamie Pacheco, 20, of 2018 Price St., on one count each of murder, felonious assault, and vehicular vandalism in connection with Ms. Minggia's death.

If convicted of murder, Mr. Pacheco could face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. He also could receive an additional eight years for vehicular vandalism.

Mike Manning, 21, who also listed the Price Street address as his residence, was at the scene, police said, but was indicted yesterday on two counts of vehicular vandalism for two unrelated incidents.

His father, Michael Manning, Sr., called a news conference earlier this week and said his son told Mr. Pacheco not to throw the plate from the overpass.

A 14-year-old boy, a runaway from a foster home who had become friends with the two adult suspects, is being held in the county's juvenile detention center until a hearing Oct. 29 on a charge of delinquency in connection with felony vandalism.

Mr. Husband said Norfolk Southern police are going to charge the three men with criminal trespass.

Ms. Minggia's family could not be reached for comment yesterday on the indictments and the incident involving the teenage girl.

Mr. Husband called the girl's alleged actions, in light of the fatal incident less than a week earlier, "disappointing and frustrating."

"Common sense should prevail," he said. "Kids have to know that throwing rocks or heavy materials onto cars or people is a very dangerous action."

Janice King, the girl's mother, told The Blade that she takes partial responsibility for what happened. She said she should have told her daughter more about Ms. Minggia's death than just that she died in a car accident near her school.

Mrs. King said she didn't tell her children more about the assault because she believes they hear about enough violence in the neighborhood and in the schools. However, she believes it would have made a difference if she had fully discussed Ms. Minggia's tragedy with her daughter.

"She didn't know the seriousness of what she did," Mrs. King said. "I explained what if that were me or someone she knew, or didn't know, and the rocks hit the car and the [car] crashed. She burst into tears. That never even crossed her mind."

The teen - who claimed she'd never thrown rocks from the overpass before and only started using the shortcut for the first time this year - said she has learned a lot from her actions. She said she realizes she shouldn't throw rocks or walk on the tracks - two things her mother told her in the past.

"I want people to learn from my mistakes," she said.

The Blade is not identifying the 14-year-old boy in the incident involving Ms. Minggia or the 14-year-old girl, who does not share her mother's last name, because they are juveniles.

Mrs. King said her daughter is a good kid, but is now grounded for an undetermined period of time.

She said her daughter will learn another lesson in reality when she goes in front of a judge.

"You've got to think things out before you do them," Mrs. King said.

Blade Staff Writer Mark Reiter contributed to this report.

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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