Kirkersville police chief dies at home, according to Mayor

James Hughes Jr., background, is sworn in as the police chief of Kirkersville (Newark Advocate)

KIRKERSVILLE -- A little more than two months after taking the job, Kirkersville Police Chief James Hughes Jr., has died, according to Mayor Terry Ashcraft.

Ashcraft said he received a call from the Reynoldsburg Police Department Friday afternoon saying Hughes had passed away.

Ashcraft said he was not aware of all the circumstances behind the death of Hughes, but said an autopsy would be performed.

Hughes leaves behind a wife and three children, according to Ashcraft. No funeral arrangements have been made at this point.

“He was a great guy, a great chief ... it was just one of those terrible things," Ashcraft said "Three children and a wife. I don’t know, we will get through it.

"He was here on Thursday ... talked to me for 10-15 minutes and got some paperwork done. He was fine then you know ... he was himself.”

Ashcraft said Hughes' hours were going to be increased from 20 hours a week to 32 hours a week at the next village council meeting. He also said the village will discuss how to honor Hughes at the next meeting. He also said the council will be discussing how best to fill the newly vacant position.

“You know people said he was a great guy. He’s out here patrolling the streets, he’s always stopping and talking to someone and he made friends real quick," Ashcraft said.

This is the second tragedy involving a police chief in Kirkersville in 13 months. Steven Eric DiSario -- who was chief for about three weeks -- was gunned down in May of 2017.

He was replaced for a brief period by Jeff Finley, who joined the force in October 2017 but resigned, citing a hostile work environment in March of this year. One week later, Hughes was hired.

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