YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – WKBN covered a number of major news stories in 2016 — from lead-tainted drinking water that led to a statewide change in procedure to the presidential campaign sweeping through the Mahoning Valley.
But the stories that brought the most national attention weren’t always the ones that our viewers read on WKBN.com.
We looked at the stories that most viewers clicked on and compiled a list of the top web stories in 2016, in terms of page views:
- East Liverpool Police find 4-year-old in car with unconscious adults: The City of East Liverpool threw itself into the national spotlight when police declared they had a drug crisis on their hands. Hours after posting the shocking pictures on the East Liverpool Police Department’s Facebook page, they went viral. The photos showed a young child in the backseat of the car, while two adults who police said overdosed on drugs were passed out up front. Responding to criticism, Prosecutor John Gamble said the drug problem is out of control and they were trying to raise awareness of the issue.
- Highway Patrol warns Ohio drivers of law they may not remember: Highway Patrol talked to WKBN about an Ohio law that many drivers often forget: When windshield wipers are in use, headlights must be on. A violation of the law is a misdemeanor, but drivers could be charged $80-$100 per violation.
- Employee shot inside Hermitage Walmart: It was a normal day at Walmart when the unthinkable happened — an employee was shot, and police said the shooter was a disgruntled co-worker. Police said Zachary McClimans, who they identified as the shooter, was upset with the co-worker, who he said threatened him after he confided that he was transitioning genders. McClimans is awaiting a court hearing for multiple criminal charges. The victim was expected to recover.
- 20 charged in large-scale Mahoning Valley drug trafficking ring: Twenty people were charged with being involved in what investigators called a large-scale drug trafficking ring that operated in the Mahoning Valley. Of those charged, six of the suspects were identified by investigators as high-level traffickers who operated the group. They said the group was responsible for selling large amounts of heroin and marijuana that came in from other states like California and Arizona.
- Woman struck by truck, killed in Southern Park Mall parking lot: A woman was hit by a pickup truck in the parking lot of the Southern Park Mall and later died of her injuries. The family of the man driving the pickup truck said he had a medical condition before the accident. Police haven’t released information on any charges the driver may face, citing an investigation.
- Atty. refuses to remove Black Lives Matter pin, taken into custody: In the midst of a national “Black Lives Matter” movement, formed after the killings of black people by police and vigilantes, a Youngstown attorney took a stand in the courtroom with her “Black Lives Matter” pin. Attorney Andrea Burton was ordered to remove the pin in court and later arrested for contempt after she refused to do so. The action sparked conversation about what freedoms are allowed in the courtroom, but Burton later withdrew her appeal and conceded that a courtroom was not a venue for the display.
- Struthers police, school allege severe abuse of kindergartner: Two people were arrested after a Struthers kindergarten teacher noticed what appeared to be signs of abuse from one of her students. That teacher got police involved, and police reported finding deplorable conditions at the child’s home. The child’s mother, Lisa Marenkovic, and her boyfriend, Beau Geidner, were arrested. Court records show the case against Marenkovic was dismissed, but Geidner was sentenced to two years in prison.
- Semi accident, fire shuts down portion of I-80 in Liberty: A busy stretch of Interstate 80 was shut down for hours after a semi truck flipped over, catching fire. Two nearby vehicles also caught fire, and while everyone got out safely, the accident created a major mess.
- Student death prompts closure of St. Christine School in Youngstown: The death of a St. Christine student canceled classes at the Youngstown school, as grief counselors were called in to speak with students. Mahoning County’s Deputy Coroner Dr. Joseph Ohr said the 13-year-old girl died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and had been dreading the start of school, leaving behind a note for her parents.
- 32 people charged with $2 million food stamp fraud in Youngstown: An investigation starting in 2010 led to 32 people being charged with defrauding the food stamp system. Prosecutors said the scam defrauded the government out of $2 million. Of those charged was George Rafidi, owner of a Youngstown convenience store. Prosecutors said Rafidi sold prohibited items, such as alcohol and tobacco, in exchange for SNAP benefits.
For more major stories that WKBN has covered this year, tune in to WKBN 27 First News at 11 p.m. tonight.