Bridgeport officials repair crash damage at the Weeks Cemetery
BRIDGEPORT — All 11 gravestones that were knocked off their foundations in a police pursuit that ended in Weeks Cemetery are standing upright again.
Bridgeport Councilman Joseph Lyle said Tuesday that all the gravestones damaged in the crash have been reset and cleaned. John Rushman, a man contracted through the village to dig graves, performed the necessary work to reset the gravestones for $750. Some of the larger gravestones required the use of special equipment to lift and reset them.
The money was paid out of the cemetery fund while awaiting resolution of a court case between the man responsible for the damage and the village.
Lyle said Justin Gallagher of Randall Gallagher Memorials volunteered his services, bringing a water compressor to the graveyard and cleaning the 11 stones at no cost to the village.
The damage stems from a police pursuit on U.S. 250 in late July when a suspect crashed his vehicle into the cemetery and knocked over the gravestones.
Joshua Snider, 46, of Bridgeport, was wanted for his alleged connection to a stabbing that took place days prior in the village of Brookside. Reports indicate he led police on a high-speed chase that ended with the crash on Old Cadiz Road.
Snider originally was taken into custody on numerous charges including second-degree felonious assault stemming from the stabbing incident; third-degree felony failure to comply with the order of a police officer; fifth-degree felony vandalism of a cemetery; second-degree misdemeanor possession of drug abuse instruments; and second-degree misdemeanor resisting arrest. Last month, Snider pleaded innocent to attempted murder. He remains lodged in the Belmont County Jail.
Mayor Norma Teasdale said she is grateful for the effort of Lyle, Gallagher and Rushman to bring the graveyard back to its former state.
“I want to thank everyone for restoring and cleaning the gravestones and bringing them back to their original locations,” she said.