Whitehall News


Police identify man killed in Whitehall crash


Whitehall police have identified the man killed early this morning (Nov. 30).

A Whitehall police officer was seriously injured, and Vernon L. Lightle, 78, was killed in a two-car crash stemming from an early morning pursuit.

Whitehall Officer Enrique Ortega was admitted in serious condition to Grant Hospital following a crash at 4:30 a.m. at East Main Street and Beechwood Avenue. He since has been upgraded to stable condition but with multiple bone fractures and other internal injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The Columbus Division of Police is investigating the accident, Whitehall Sgt. Dan Kelso said.

Ortega was westbound on East Main Street with lights and sirens activated and the civilian motorist was northbound on Beechwood Avenue, when the accident occurred, Kelso said. Ortega was struck on the driver’s side door.

Lightle, whose address is listed as 272 Collingwood Ave., Columbus, was not involved in the incident that led to the pursuit, police said. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Whitehall police are looking for Matthew S. Jones, 29, whom police had attempted to detain for threatening a woman. Jones is described as male, 6 feet 6 inches and weighing about 210 pounds. He was driving a gold Mazda with a license plate number AGU5151. Jones has been charged with violating a protection order, felony fleeing, aggravated menacing, failure to comply and domestic-violence threats. Police didn't say if Jones would be charged with Lightle's death.

For more on the story, read the Dec. 6 edition of ThisWeek Whitehall News and check with ThisWeekNews.com for updates.