Summit Metro Parks ranger terminated after roughly arresting elderly couple

AKRON, Ohio -- A Summit Metro Parks ranger has been terminated after being accused of following an elderly couple home, assaulting them and arresting them after they honked their horn at him.

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The couple, Carl and Margaret Wilson, say they previously hired an attorney in the matter.

Lisa King, executive director of Summit Metro Parks, released a statement on the matter Thursday:

"Summit Metro Parks has terminated the employment of Jeffrey Axner, a park ranger responsible for a serious off-park-property incident that occurred September 27 and involved a senior couple near Goodyear Heights Metro Park in Akron. The termination became effective October 25.

The incident began at the Newton Street entrance of the park when the couple honked at the ranger, who was making a turn into the park. The ranger changed course and pursued the couple’s vehicle to a residence on Darrow Road, and handcuffed both individuals after an altercation.

The park district immediately placed the ranger on paid administrative leave and launched an investigation.

The district determined that Mr. Axner violated park ranger procedures, exceeded his authority resulting in a series of poor decisions, and used excessive force. These are unacceptable violations of our employee conduct standards, and in keeping with district polices and our contract with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (OPBA), Mr. Axner’s employment with Summit Metro Parks was terminated."

Continuing coverage.