G’wich officer recounts events of June 1

Case involving Willard murder
Scott Seitz
Jul 1, 2013

Greenwich Police Chief Steve Dorsey said Friday the June 1 traffic stop of murder suspects Misael Lopez and his brother, Hiram Emmanuel Lopez, could ultimately be the break the Huron County Sheriff’s Office needs to solve the case.
The Lopez brothers are the persons of interest in the stabbing death of Baseline Road resident Daniel Jacinto Hernandez.
Possibly, shortly after the Lopezes allegedly committed the Hernandez murder, they were stopped on Main Street for speeding by Greenwich Officer Aaron Smith at 12:30 a.m.
Members of the sheriff’s office have said if Smith followed normal protocol during a traffic stop, the Lopez brothers would have been arrested — even though Smith had no idea at the time he had stopped alleged murderers.
“Officer Smith could have been easily injured or killed by the two suspects,” Dorsey said. “What was the probable cause to detain them any longer? As far as Officer Smith (knew), it was a traffic stop for a speed violation, not a homicide that had not been reported yet.”
Dorsey provided Smith’s two-page report regarding the incident.
Smith indicated in the report he stopped the 2004 Dodge Stratus, owned by Hernandez, for traveling 8 mph more than the marked speed limit.
“The vehicle slowed down to a roll but did not come to a complete stop,” Smith said in the report. “The vehicle then idled to the side of the road and then started turning its wheels like it was going to pull back out, but then stopped.”
Smith observed the license plates to be from Virginia. The plate bracket contained a floral design.
“The back seat was empty and the car was clean as I shined the light through the windows to see,” Smith said.
“I approached the driver-side window and asked for license, registration and insurance,” Smith said. “The driver shook his head no.
“The passenger was turning his back towards me and pushing back into the corner of the seat next to the door like he was trying to hide behind the seat from me,” Smith added. “I asked him to sit forward but he ignored me. I asked the driver if he spoke English and he shook his head no. I observed what I thought to be blood on his left forearm. A smear about 1 inch by 3 inches.”
The driver’s English improve during the course of the traffic stop, the report indicated.
Smith then noted in the report the driver began flexing his muscles — almost preparing for a fight.
“I noticed his biceps as he had no sleeves on his shirt and observed him to be very fit and cut,” Smith said.
Smith then told the driver he would see if he could locate an interpreter for assistance.
Smith then stood in the dark by the passenger side of the cruiser so he could keep an eye on the two men.
“I radioed dispatch and asked for back-up,” he wrote, adding he was under the impression it would take 20 minutes for sheriff’s deputies to arrive.
Smith then asked the driver to exit their vehicle and he patted him down. Smith had the driver stand by the police cruiser and not move.
Smith then asked the passenger to exit the vehicle. He was reluctant at first.
Smith told the men he would take them to jail if they could not produce identification.
Dorsey noted Smith then was on vacation from June 3 to 13 and did not know Huron County had a homicide or that he had stopped the actual suspects that night.
“He learned of the homicide when the sheriff’s department called him on June 14,” he said. “Officer Smith called off back-up because they (suspects) started to be cooperative and speaking in English and produced a driver’s license.”
Dorsey said he’s OK with how the situation was handled.
“I look at it as a positive break that the sheriff’s department has received by Officer Smith’s traffic stop, to help solve the homicide case,” the chief said. “I am thankful that Officer Smith was not hurt or that he did not have to use deadly force to protect himself from a crime he had no knowledge about until June 14.”

 

Comments

JudgeMeNot

Good police work.

TuffNutts2011

Im not sure why the HCSO wanted to toss this kid under the bus when he did everything right. Things will just get worse until the farms are in check.

prettygood39

Well...I read all the stories and really.. how would he have known of the murders after they happened if that was the case these illegals wouldn't b runnin right now. They would b I n prison for murder...I feel officer smith did what he had to do to stay alive and not cause problems for himself when he was by himself..callin backup off .they should of came but one thing is he is alive..he might b a cop but he has a family that he wanted to see them THE next day and he just didn't know.You can't be mad or hate someone cuz they just didn't know.But it would of been a celebration for GPD for catchin murderers though..keep your head up officer smith and keep doin what your doin it might not b good but its what u do...

Onemanforce

I'm sorry, no disrespect intended toward Ofc. Smith, but thou hath droppeth the ball. Vehicle idles to a stop. Vehicle then starts spinning its tires eventually stopping. Two suspects lie about speaking the language. One tries to hide and won't respond to commands. Driver is acting in an aggressive manner. BLOOD ON DRIVER'S ARM!!!. Vehicle from out of state registered to a non passenger. And a license from Texas, which he did not want to give you until the threat of jail!!!??? Was the license even checked for validity / possession by actual owner or whether it was fake? Why in the world would you have called off back up (even if they started to comply). You don't know what their agenda is. Stand the driver (the fit and cut one with the flexed muscles, remember?) by the cruiser instead if siting him down inside it for "Investigative purposes": divide and conquer! In essence leaving an obviously upset male outside, behind you in the dark while you talked to the passenger. At least, Border Patrol should have been summoned to check the Texas license and immigration status of the two. This could have been the last traffic stop you made, Sir. But I, for one, am extremely happy that you are safe to learn from this colossal and resonating boo boo. You, Sir, had a gigantic angel sitting on your shoulder that night. Learn from this one. Just saying....

Fibber Mcgee

Good points all, however with radio communication between the HCSO and GPD being bad, this is one of the first things that need to be addressed. Just listening to the 2 trying to communicate and then having to finally talk by phone, shows that if this had gone bad, would Smith have been able to talk to anyone? As you said, he had a gigantic angel working overtime.

jumparound77

Oh Aaron what would Greenwch do without you? Can't believe our taxes go to pay some of these cops around here anymore...what a joke!

benedict

Dorsey noted Smith then was on vacation from June 3 to 13 and did not know Huron County had a homicide or that he had stopped the actual suspects that night.********It is hard for me to believe that just because he was on vacation that he did not hear that there was a murder in Willard, I mean come on did he have his head in the sand the whole time he was on vacation? That is just crazy, it was on FB, the newspapers, maybe even on TV, you mean none of his friends or fellow officers would have mentioned this to him?*********

alwaysatfault

Did what he had to do to stay alive are you serious??? They had no weapons remember he pat them down and are you forgetting he is a cop hello he is trained to shoot in self defense and he had HCSO on there way which means 3 "cops" against 2 unarmed men??? Huh if this situation is so tough I really feel sorry for your community and you all should feel safe and protected!!! No brainer -- car registered to neither name and 1 has blood "paint" lol on his arm anyone in there right mind would agree for back up had assistance if he was that of afraid of the man flexing his muscles lol and helped to have taken those two in for further questioning like why are you driving a car that doesn't belong to you ?? And maybe sent someone to the address listed for the owner to verify those two had permission oh wait what would they have found ??? Yes the reason for the paint on one of there arms lolol but what do we know we aren't the cop or chief no because I did not choose that profession but that's a no brainer actually or my opinion he just wanted them to leave so he could start his vaca! Either way chief you know that stop wasn't handled properly and if you think it was then maybe they need to start with who's in charge and why his officers do and handle stops the way they do. Didn't know about it until he was back from vacation my butt that's why alot of people in your town was discussing way before he was back from his vacation that officer smith had the murderers stopped and let them go lolol and if he only had 1 standing beside his cruiser why were they taking his cruiser in to see if any DNA could be found in the back seat of his cruiser?? Oh was that another misprint? His recorded call said he had 1 in back of cruiser 1 HCSO even verified they are in custody and was told affirmative.. Wow what a twist in stories and report. Good luck HCSO !!

jumparound77

Lets not forget the other Greenwich officer misfiring and shooting a woman in Willard...lol

Everyone is fam...

It's so easy to be a arm chair officer. "I would have...", "He should have...". I challenge all of you wanna-be Super Troopers to sign up for the academy and suit up in uniform and badge. My daughter will be pursuing this career after next year. My BABY. I will be sending her off into a world full of cruel and evil people so that your lives will be safer. So as your tongues burn with your would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves, keep in mind every man or woman in uniform has family and friends that pray for their safe return while you are sleeping soundly.

pillowpants

I agree with this!!! It seems so many are willing to judge and bad mouth every single thing these officers do, but yet none of them would even consider doing what these men and women do on a daily basis!

Sitting In The ...

I really don't think we need "Super-Troopers" who can't tell the difference between red paint and blood...it's called common sense; kind of like family of cops worry about them when there on duty. Thanks for stating the obvious you're really good at it....

tipper

Well after reading this article and the one before, I say maybe it would be a good idea to send the Willard and Greenwich Police dept, to New York City for further training, let them spend 3 months training and then another 3 months in New York on the streets, and then come back home, then they will be REAL COPS

pillowpants

Yeah, that's what we need. Police Officers stopping and frisking everything that moves, cursing at the public and treating them anyway they feel like. Someone has been watching too much Law and Order. NYC has a patrol division, homicide division, white collar crime division, beat cops, child protection division, sex crime division, vice division, narcotic division, robbery division, terrorist division, etc and has 45k police officers. Greenwich and Willard officers have the same crimes, and handle every case from beginning to conviction without the benefit of handing it off to a special unit. But they have to try to solve these case while also responding to the daily calls for help and making traffic stops to make our streets safe....all with one officer per shift. I've been to NYC and spoke with police officers while visiting NBC and Time Square, etc. One officer asked (when I told him where I lived) how many officers Greenwich has and after I told him I think it was one per shift because the town is too cheap to put anymore on he laughed and said you couldn't pay him enough to do police work without back up being right there. He told me that on traffic stops they have two per stop and more will just show up without asking. On domestic type calls, it's nothing to have between 5 and 10 show up. He said he doesn't know how these small agencies do it, because he couldn't. Another said he couldn't work in a small town because everybody knows who you are and try to get into your personal life and criticize every move you make although they wouldn't and couldn't do the job themselves. I know our town has highly trained officers. Most of them are instructors for the state in on capacity or another. Most of them have more years on and more experience than Querin, Harris and Duncan. And the chief isn't a glory hound. If you talk to an officer face to face in Greenwich, you'd see they are making drug arrest left and right, arresting criminals, ec. But you wouldn't really know it because the Chief here isn't a "Dane Howard photo op glory hound". And since this article is about Officer Smith and how he doesn't know what he is doing, I remember a case not too long ago where he was able to rescue a female from being raped just by tracking the phone pings off of cell towers. I could go back in several articles and show the good that Greenwich officers have done. I thank our Officers for being professional and knowing how to treat the public and for putting up with all the hatred it seems some of you have for them. Shame on you.

tipper

Pillowpants, First of all I have not mentioned any names, I never watch NCI crime crap. Nothing is ever done, people just keep STEALING and the small town people that are so scared of the City Council just keep putting up with this X$*&^&%. BALONEY, do something, stand on your own 2 feet, or keep having your garages, and houses broken into. Im disgusted, and i dont care what my neighbors are doing or saying, dont tell me more drama, Just dont come on my property, I will take matters into my own hands,

pillowpants

I literally did not understand a single thing you typed. But from what I could gather after several times reading it is: 1) you don't watch crime dramas 2)you are not scared of council, your neighbors or someone on your property 3)You will take matters into your own hands followed by a comma, so I am waiting on the rest.

tipper

Pillowpants : I was refering to all the Vandalism going on, and No one doing anything about it. This does not pertain to the above news article, so just forget it, But you will find out that small town people all stick together, and unless you are born and raised here you are an outsider, I just need to shut up. Im JUST VENTING, NO BODY REALLY CARES ANYWAY

tipper

Pillowpants, with HIPPA LAWS where did you get the info HMMMMMMMMMM????

pillowpants

Again, what in the world are you talking about, HMMMMMMMMMMMM? Let me clarify: HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996....it basically requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. At what point did I, or anyone else, including the reporter for this article, mention anything remotely close to health care or violating health care confidentiality?

Sitting In The ...

This cop missed countless signs that there was more to this situation and he sent them on their way plain and simple.

PORCH_MONKEY_TA...

"This cop missed countless signs...." Really?? For one, why don't all of you haters of cops out there go out and try to do their job for a week?!!?!?! Second....you all need to look and see who the real mess up of the month is....DING DING DING!!! It's Mr. Dane Howard! That "man" wouldn't know what a murder suspect looked like if he tried to eat it...which by the looks of it he's been successful at a few. All he cares about is a photo opportunity and making himself look good. What about his boy Corbin who wrecked a cruiser? And what about the cop who just had charges dismissed for domestic violence??? Oh, but the sheriff's department is sooooo good!!! My butt they are! Huron County SO has got to be the biggest joke in Huron County, along with this judge that keeps letting these nasty druggies go after they have been charged countless times with drug LOCAL police do their jobs and get these scums off the streets and the judge sends them back out. Wake up people and stop being so rude to your local law enforcement officers!