The following information has been provided by the Portsmouth Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies. The information listed in this column is considered public record and is available to anyone seeking information concerning what is provided below.
For purposes of this column, the term “arrested,” or “charged” does not necessarily mean the person was taken into physical custody. It could also indicate that a summons was issued to the subject in lieu of physical custody.
All names listed as “arrested” or “charged” are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
At just prior to 3 p.m. Thursday, police attempting to serve a warrant from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office ended up chasing the suspect through the playground of Portsmouth Elementary School and shooting the suspect with a Taser while in the school’s playground.
A report states an officer spotted Alvin J. Branham, 48, of Portsmouth, driving a car with what was described as an obvious window tinting violation eastbound on Gallia Street in front of the Portsmouth Public Library. The officer on the scene said the suspect exited his vehicle whereupon police recognized him from previous encounters and knew him to have an active warrant from the county.
Police reportedly ordered Branham to stop but he attempted to quickly exit the area. Fearing the for the safety of schoolchildren in the area, police parked their cruiser and chased after the suspect on foot. He allegedly jumped the fence into the elementary school playground, located at 514 Union St. The officer in pursuit also jumped the fence into the playground and ordered the suspect to the ground. He allegedly refused to comply, and the officer brandished and fired his Taser, striking the suspect in his back and head.
At that point, Branham fell to the ground but continued to resist arrest. A school resource officer came to the aid of the Portsmouth officer and the suspect ultimately was subdued.
Branham was arrested for the active warrant and also charged with obstructing official business. The report does not state for what offense the original warrant was issued.
In other police news:
Assault: At just after 8 p.m., officers say they were flagged down in reference to an escaped patient from the Southern Ohio Medical Center. Police say they spotted the male suspect in the 1800 block of Grandview, in his underwear carrying a large piece of wood. A local resident earlier had phoned police claiming to have been threatened by an unknown suspect allegedly brandishing a large piece of wood.
The report states police attempted to block the suspect, 39, of South Webster, with a police cruiser. However, he reportedly jumped over the hood of the car and fled south on the street. Police said the man ran into traffic several times, allegedly nearly causing multiple vehicle crashes. Eventually, police caught up with him on foot at which time he allegedly again brandished his weapon. Police arrested him at gunpoint. As he was under a psychiatric hold, officers returned him to SOMC for further observation. As the suspect currently faces no charges and the report contains potentially embarrassing information about him, this newspaper has declined to release his name.
Criminal Trespassing: Police responded to a report from a city health department inspector regarding a couple allegedly spotted inside an abandoned house located at 405 Boundary St. A report states police spotted two suspects, Jason Coburn and Kimberly Stephens, both of Portsmouth, ages 42 and 38, inside the home which had been boarded up and condemned since May. Police said the pair appeared to gain entry into the house through a busted side window. The two were ordered out of the home and both issued a summons for criminal trespassing.
Traffic Incident: At just before 9:30 p.m., police responded to the report of an accident in front of an address at 1507 Coles Blvd. Upon arrival officers allegedly spotted a white powdery substance inside the right nostril of the driver of the car who allegedly struck two vehicles in front of the given address. Police further said they noticed the driver displayed slurred speech and glossy bloodshot eyes. Wanda L. Evans, 53, of Lucasville was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs as well as failure to control.
Assault: Police responded about 2:15 p.m. to a report of a fight happening in the 1300 block of 16th Street. The alleged victim told officers she had been attacked by another woman who accused her of having what the attacker felt was inappropriate contact with her boyfriend. Police arrested Tiffany A. Bell, 33 of Portsmouth, on an assault charge. She was taken to the Scioto County Jail.
No one was arrested, however, police took a report of a possible assault/domestic dispute that allegedly occurred about 7:30 p.m. at a residence in the 1700 block of Fifth Street. A report states information on the alleged occurrence will be submitted to the prosecutor for possible assault charges.
Theft: A report states an employee of Dash Thru, 2551 Gallia St., chased after a shoplifter who made off with e-cigarette devices valued at about $175 mid Tuesday evening. Neither the employee nor police ultimately were able to locate the suspect.
Warrant: Police said a woman called them just before 8 p.m. about an alleged assault of which she was the victim in 1700 block of Fifth Street. Officers ended up arresting the supposed victim Jodi L. Sparks, 40, of Portsmouth, on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. The report states the original charge was disorderly conduct. Sparks was taken to the county jail.
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