Police: Truck driver kills two

Several weapons were found in the trucker’s motel room after his arrest.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — A type of rifle used by snipers, several other weapons and a large quantity of ammunition was found in a Michigan motel room rented by a truck driver accused of killing two co-workers at an Ohio company, authorities said Friday.

Calvin Neyland Jr., 43, of Findlay, was being held without bond in the Wood County jail after being arraigned Thursday by video in Perrysburg Municipal Court on two counts of aggravated murder.

Neyland is accused of killing Douglas Smith, 44, of Sylvania Township near Toledo, and Thomas Lazar, 58, of Belle Vernon, Pa., on Wednesday afternoon at Liberty Transportation in Perrysburg Township near Toledo.

Lazar, a retired Pennsylvania state trooper, had been sent to the Ohio office to assist in firing Neyland, officials said.

Smith’s father, Donald Smith, 68, of Oil City, Pa., had never heard him mention Neyland but said he understood Lazar was brought in from Pittsburgh because Neyland’s firing was not expected to go smoothly.

“We know what happened, but I don’t know whether we’ll ever understand why something like this happens,” said Smith.

He said his son began working at the trucking company in April 2006 as the manager of the Perrysburg office and was the only person who worked at the site.

What happened

Judge S. Dwight Osterud said that Lazar apparently was shot in a parking lot outside the trucking company shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday and Smith was shot in his office.

Several weapons were found in a search of a room where Neyland had been staying, including a .308 sniper rifle with a bipod and scope, an assault rifle with a scope, a .40-caliber handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, Monroe County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Rick Galimberti said Friday.

Smith had called 911 just before he was shot and killed, saying that one of the company’s drivers was trying to take off in a truck after being fired.

“Shots are being fired,” he told the 911 dispatcher. “I need to go downstairs and see what’s going on.”

During the call, Smith could be heard yelling for help after saying he was leaving his upstairs office. At least three shots also were heard on the call.

Neyland was arrested about three hours after the shooting driving the cab of a tractor-trailer in the motel parking lot in Michigan, about 15 miles north of the trucking company.

Smith died of a single gunshot wound in the head, said Dr. Douglas Hess Jr., the Wood County coroner. Lazar, who was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, died from multiple gunshot wounds in his head and chest at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner.

What’s next

Police found a handgun inside the door of the truck Neyland was driving, said Chief William Hines of the Erie Township, Mich., police department. He said Neyland had checked into the motel about three months earlier.

Neyland’s next hearing has been set for Aug. 16 in Perrysburg Municipal Court, said Heather Baker, a Wood County assistant prosecutor.

Assistant Wood County Public Defender J. Scott Hicks was assigned to represent Neyland. A message seeking comment was left at Hicks’ office on Friday.

Liberty Transportation is based in New Alexandria, Pa., east of Pittsburgh.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to all family and friends of Doug Smith and Tom Lazar,” Liberty President Chuck Runzo said in a statement.

A man who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters on Friday said that the company had no further comment.

Donald Smith said his son was engaged and planned to be married this month.

“He was a good kid,” Donald Smith said. “He didn’t have kids of his own, but he had a stepdaughter and stepson and four stepgrandchildren he was super with. He always befriended the older people where he lived and did things for them too.”

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