Corrected version: Paragraph 20 corrects the day of death for Montelle Taylor and Jennifer Molnar.
Danny York says his father was killed trying to help do the right thing when he stepped in front of the vehicle of a man fleeing a crime scene, and that makes him nothing short of a hero in his son’s eyes.
“He died trying to do the right thing,” Mr. York, 20, said of his father, Randall York, 55, of West Toledo, who authorities say was intentionally hit and dragged 63 feet by the minivan late Saturday after trying to stop a man and his son from fleeing the parking lot of the Speedway gas station at Secor and Laskey roads.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” Mr. York said. “He got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Geoffrey Dupuis, 47, has been charged with murder in connection with the death. His son, Jacob Dupuis, 18,has been charged with assault for allegedly punching a patron in the gas station. They live at 3335 West Laskey, just west of the gas station.
Both suspects are in the Lucas County jail and will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday in Toledo Municipal Court.
This is the eighth homicide in Toledo this year, and the third in the last week.
Police Chief Mike Navarre said the older Mr. Dupuis put his vehicle in drive, gunned the accelerator, and intentionally ran over Mr. York after the younger Mr. Dupuis was involved in an altercation shortly before 10:30 p.m. Saturday inside the station, 5010 Secor.
Authorities said Mr. York put his hands on the hood of the 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette and stood in front of the minivan to stop the driver and passenger from fleeing the parking lot before police arrived.
“My dad got in front of the van and said ‘You’re not going anywhere,’ and they ran him over and dragged him across the parking lot,” Mr. York said.
Mr. York said witnesses told him that eight people, including gas station patrons, pulled the van off his father, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at 10:35 p.m.
Chief Navarre said the elder Mr. York had been at a pump outside and witnessed the altercation between the younger Mr. Dupuis and a customer inside the station. He was entering the gas station when patrons were yelling for someone to stop the pair from leaving.
Chief Navarre said when police arrived, nothing could be done for the victim. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed on Monday.
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According to an eye-witness report, Jacob Dupuis — while inside the station — was disputing a charge and began yelling loudly at the clerk.
Chief Mike Navarre said a customer who was not involved in the argument told Jacob Dupuis to “calm down, you’re getting all excited over nothing.” After the remark, the suspect’s son turned around and punched the man in the face before turning to leave the station.
“He punched the man, completely unprovoked,” Chief Navarre said.
He then got into his father’s vehicle and the two of them proceeded to leave the scene, which is when the victim stepped in.
Danny York was shocked at the outcome that has left him and brother, Adam, without their father, but not surprised that his dad tried to help.
He said his father, a lifelong mechanic, was a simple man with simple interests. He enjoyed helping his sons fix their cars, and was a die-hard NASCAR fan who never hesitated to stop what he was doing to help his sons fix their cars when they had mechanical problems. He lived with his mother— Danny and Adam’s grandmother, Shirley York — so that he could take care of her.
“He had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I ever knew,” Danny York said. “I’m sure he didn’t think twice about doing what he did.”
The homicide comes on the heels of the early Friday morning fatal shooting of 17-year-old Montelle Taylor, and the homicide Wednesday of 31-year-old Jennifer Molnar, who was found severely beaten in the basement of an East Toledo home. Both crimes remain unsolved.
Staff writer Roberta Redfern contributed to this report.
Contact Payton Willey at: 419-724-6050, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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