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Cleveland firefighter dies after being struck in alleged hit-and-run on I-90; suspect charged

Johnny Tetrick, who served the Cleveland Division of Fire for over 27 years. 40-year-old Leander Bissell was arrested following the Saturday incident.

CLEVELAND — A 40-year-old Cleveland man identified as Leander Bissell has been arrested after allegedly striking and killing a Cleveland firefighter with his car on I-90 East at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Saturday night. 

Authorities say Bissell has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with the case. He made his first court appearance Monday morning, with bond set at $500,000.

The city identified the firefighter as Cleveland Division of Fire veteran Johnny Tetrick, who served in the department for over 27 years.

The incident happened around 8:15 p.m. when Tetrick was assisting crews with a rollover crash when a car drove around the emergency vehicles and hit him. According to the Bratenahl Village Police Department, the driver did not stop and fled the scene at a high speed.

Cleveland EMS says Tetrick was alive during the transport to University Hospitals Cleveland medical Center, but passed away shortly after. As of Sunday morning at 8 a.m., Cleveland police confirmed to 3News that Bratenahl officers had arrested a suspect in connection to the hit-and-run.

FUNERAL UPDATE: According to a post by the Association of Cleveland Firefighters, a funeral date has not yet been finalized, but is expected to happen on either Saturday, Nov. 26 or Sunday, Nov. 27.

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Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb released a statement on Sunday morning following the death of Tetrick:

"I am saddened to learn of the death of Cleveland firefighter Johnny Tetrick and extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters. Firefighter Tetrick was devoted to his work as a first responder and was a much-loved member of his family and his community. Our prayers go out to his entire family as the city mourns the loss of a colleague and a dedicated public servant."

Credit: Cleveland Division of Fire
Fallen Cleveland firefighter Johnny Tetrick

During Tetrick's career with Cleveland Fire, he spent most of the time working on Engine 22 on the city's east side. Tetrick is survived by his wife and three children.  

Cleveland Fire Chief Anthony Luke issued the following statement on Sunday:

"This is a tragedy. A tragedy for Firefighter Tetrick’s family and friends, but also for the Division of Fire and the city of Cleveland," City Council President Blaine A. Griffin added. "We offer our deepest condolences to his family."

"We want to express our deepest condolences to our brothers in the Cleveland Fire Department," Bratenahl Village Police stated in a media release.

Tetrick's body was transported from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office to the funeral home on Monday via an old-fashioned fire truck. A number of his colleague were on hand to pay tribute.

At this time, Eastside Department Group Enforcement (EDGE) Accident Investigation Unit (AIU) is investigating the crash as well as the Cleveland Police Department AIU. The suspect has not yet been named but is facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and failure to stop after an accident.


EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Nov. 19, 2022. 

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