Cuyahoga County

Cleveland Man Indicted on Charges for the Hit-and-Run Incident that Killed On-Duty Cleveland Firefighter Johnny Tetrick

11/28/2022

 

CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that a Cuyahoga County grand jury has returned an indictment charging Leander Bissell, 40, on Murder, Felonious Assault, and Aggravated Vehicular Homicide among other charges for the hit-and-run incident that killed 51-year-old on-duty Cleveland Firefighter Johnny Tetrick.  

“For over 20 years, Cleveland Firefighter Tetrick served the citizens of Cleveland. Firefighter Tetrick’s death is a heartbreaking tragedy that could have been avoided if Leander Bissell made better choices that day,” said Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley. “My thoughts remain with Firefighter Tetrick’s family, friends, and fellow firefighters during this truly devastating time.”  

On November 19, 2022, around 8:14 p.m., there was a rollover vehicle accident on Interstate 90 East Bound near Martin Luther King Boulevard in Bratenahl. The Cleveland Division of Police (CPD), the Cleveland Fire Department, and the Bratenahl Police Department (BPD) responded to the scene. Police vehicles and fire department vehicles, with their lights on, were located on the interstate in both left lanes, and traffic merged into the two right lanes.

Leander Bissell drove his vehicle around the left side of the police cruiser (onto the shoulder of the highway), veered right into the second lane on the left, and accelerated his speed according to video evidence. Bissel then struck Cleveland Firefighter Johnny Tetrick as he was clearing debris on scene. Bissell, without braking, immediately fled the scene. Cleveland Firefighter Tetrick was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

An investigation conducted by BPD with assistance from CPD located the vehicle matching the suspected vehicle’s description and suspected damage near East 152nd Street and Ridpath Avenue in Cleveland later that night. Leander Bissell was placed under arrest.

Leander Bissell was indicted on the following charges:

  • One count of Murder – 2903.02(B)
  • Two counts of Felonious Assault – 2903.11 (A)(1) and (A)(2)
  • One count of Involuntary Manslaughter – 2903.04(B)
  • One count of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – 2903.06(A)(2)(a)
  • One count of Failure To Stop After Accident – 4549.02(A)(1)
  • One count of Failure to Comply – 2921.331(A)


Leander Bissell is charged with Murder under Ohio Revised Code section 2903.02(B), Ohio’s Felony-Murder statute – meaning Cleveland Firefighter Tetrick’s death was the proximate result of Bissell committing a felony offense of violence, in this case, Felonious Assault. The felonious assault charges are for both knowingly causing serious physical harm and for knowingly causing serious harm by means of a deadly weapon (his vehicle).

The Ohio Revised Code (R.C. 2901.22(B)) defines knowingly as when, “a person acts knowingly, regardless of purpose, when the person is aware that the person's conduct will probably cause a certain result or will probably be of a certain nature. A person has knowledge of circumstances when the person is aware that such circumstances probably exist.”

After reviewing the video and Ohio caselaw, it is clear that there were foreseeable consequences to the defendant’s actions. His behavior speaks for itself. What transpired that night – the death of a first responder – plainly falls within the scope of risk created by the defendant’s conduct.


Leander Bissell will be arraigned at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center at a later date.

You can view the indictment here.