Special memorial sign to honor workers, troopers killed on Ohio Turnpike

Posted at 7:16 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 19:18:24-04

A special honor for workers and troopers killed in the line of duty will be displayed on the Ohio Turnpike in the form of a new memorial sign.

Representative Tom Patton and Robert Perez Senior requested the special signs which will display the names of those killed while working and serving. The new Ohio Turnpike Memorial signs will also remind drivers of Ohio's Move Over Law.

Robert Perez Senior said 17 years have passed since his son’s death, but it still hurts to think about him.

“It hasn't been easy,” said Perez. “I still remember him... It's hard.”

Before his death, Trooper Robert Perez Jr. always encouraged his father to follow his dreams and open a barbershop.

“He said to me, ‘Dad, I'm still living at home with mom. I can pay your bills. Go. Get your license,’ and I said, ‘No. You're not going to pay my bills.’”

Trooper Perez Jr. was killed in 2000 while he was writing a ticket on the turnpike in Erie County.

After his death, his father retired and went back to school to get his barber's license. Then, he opened Bobby C's Classic Barbershop inside the '5th Street Arcade' building in Downtown Cleveland. Perez Sr. said he opened his shop for his son.

“I have a picture of him in the shop, and I come in and just remember him, remember how he was so funny, even the troopers in the academy,” said Perez Sr. “He was known to be a funny person.”

His sister, Amanda Owsley shared happy memories. She said her brother knew he wanted to be a law enforcement officer as a child.

"He was a good brother, best friend,” she said. “I guess, I just remember the silliest little things, sometimes he would put us and my other brother under arrest, because he was a police officer. It was fun."

His colleagues also remembered his humor.

“Instantly, I liked him,” said Lt. Richard Redder, Ohio State Highway Patrol. “We have the same sense of humor. We were both young in our career and excited to have the jobs. We just talked about our experiences, being on the night shift.”

The memorial and 'Move Over' signs will be posted later this year.

The Executive Director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission said the goal is to remember that these deaths could have been avoided and to remind people to slow down and, if possible, move over when they see an accident on the road.

“I'm sometimes shocked that there's thousands of tickets being written, across the state for people that are not willing to just take that extra measure,” said Randy Cole, Ohio Turnpike Commission Executive Director.

Ohio’s Move Over Law is intended to keep police officers, highway/maintenance workers, and tow-truck operators safe from passing traffic. It requires motorists to slow down and, if possible, change lanes to avoid getting too close to vehicles pulled over on the roadside.

Surviving family members or anyone with knowledge about these fallen workers and troopers are asked to contact the Ohio Turnpike Commission to help provide information about the location and other details. Here is the number to call: 440-971-2066.


  1. Hudson—May, 2015 Michael W. Kennedy, Interstate Towing. 


       2. Sandusky Township—Jan. 24, 2012, John Fletcher, Elmore Maintenance Section.


       3. Berlin Township—May 15, 2000, Trooper Robert Perez, Jr., OSHP Post 90.


       4. Holiday City—July 31, 1997, Duane E. Cisek, Kunkle Maintenance Section.


       5. Holiday City—July 31, 1997 Richard L. Yoh, Kunkle Maintenance Section.


       6. Canfield Township—1987, John Todd, Canfield Maintenance Section.


       7. Fulton Township—1983, Kenneth W. Geiger, Swanton Maintenance Section.


       8. Amherst—1978, Kermit C. Starkey, Amherst Maintenance Section.


       9. Exact Location Unknown—1977, Mike H. McConnell*


      10. Townsend Township—Sept. 17, 1970, Kenneth C. Bailey, Castalia Maintenance Section.


      11. Townsend Township—Sept. 17, 1970, Berton C. Stewart, Castalia Maintenance Section.


      12. Rossford—Feb. 22, 1967, Trooper Jon D. Birchum, OSHP Post 89.