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Lorain County cop faces felony charge after apparent suicide attempt

By Brandon Addeo • Jun 19, 2019 at 5:30 PM

FLORENCE TWP. — The Erie County Sheriff’s Office is charging a Lorain County cop after he allegedly drove while intoxicated and tried to drive his truck off an unfinished bridge in what law enforcement called an apparent suicide attempt Sunday.

Richard Shawn Kneisel, 34, of Sperry Road in Vermilion, was charged with improper handling a firearm in a vehicle, a felony, along with four misdemeanors: Operating a vehicle under the influence, using weapons while intoxicated, open container in a motor vehicle and driving on a closed road.

Kneisel works as a patrol officer for the Wellington Police Department, according to an Erie County sheriff’s report. Wellington is a village southeast of Wakeman, over the Lorain County line.

Just after midnight Sunday, a deputy responded to the 6000 block of Ohio 60 for a report of a car playing loud music.

The deputy found road closure signs — which stem from a project to reconstruct four bridges in Erie County — knocked over, apparently from a vehicle, the report states. The section of Ohio 60 that was closed was for a bridge construction project at the section of road that runs over the Ohio Turnpike.

The deputy found a truck that struck steel beams about five feet onto the bridge, in an area surrounded by construction scaffolding.

A man, identified as Kneisel, exited the vehicle and identified himself to the deputy as a police officer, according to the report. The deputy said he smelled of alcohol.

Kneisel made statements about having been in the military and also made suicidal statements, the report states.

Inside Kneisel’s truck, deputies found a loaded Glock pistol, magazines for a long gun and an opened beer can.

Deputies took Kneisel to Firelands Regional Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said Kneisel remains there as of Monday afternoon, and he was to be served with his warrants upon release.

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