June 30, 2016

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Sharon Twp. EMT pleads not guilty in custody case

MEDINA — A 22-year-old Sharon Township Fire Department emergency medical technician, accused of traveling with a runaway 15-year-old girl to Florida, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge.

Maxwell Leibsla

Maxwell D. Leibsla, of 3687 Knots Landing, Montville Township, was indicted Feb. 14 on interference with custody, a first-degree misdemeanor that was bumped to a fifth-degree felony because the offense involved interstate travel.

Leibsla is accused of transporting 15-year-old Jessica Kollar, who was on probation, to Lake Worth, Fla., where the pair was arrested Feb. 2.

Kollar’s family told police they last had seen her on Jan. 24 and they suspected she was with Leibsla headed to Florida. The teenager’s friends said she contacted them to say she was safe, but she wouldn’t say where she was.

Medina County sheriff’s deputies retrieved the pair last week, Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said.

Leibsla is scheduled for a jury trial May 29 before Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.

Wadsworth attorney Kevin Ondrey is representing him.

Sharon Township Fire Chief Rob Haas said Leibsla is a part-time volunteer and was placed on administrative leave pending the charges. He said if Leibsla is convicted, he would be fired.

“You can’t be a felon and maintain your firefighter or EMS certification,” he said.

He said Leibsla did not notify the department that he was going out of state.

Haas said it came as a surprise when he heard Leibsla was accused. He said Leibsla also worked full time at a private EMS contractor, but he didn’t know the company’s name.

“He’s just a young kid who did something stupid,” Haas said.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.