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Ex-parole board member denies he used position to get out of DUI

COLUMBUS – A fired parole board member – accused of using his official position in a failed effort to get out of a drunken driving charge – denied to 10 Investigates that he abused his authority and is expected to go to on trial later this month.

But others disagree with Michael H. Jackson.

They include a state trooper, a judge and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction – the agency who fired him.

And they point to dash camera video as proof.

Jackson, who served on the parole board from 2013 to 2018, was fired from his job in February of this year, according to a copy of his termination letter obtained by 10 Investigates.

The letter states: “You are being removed for violating the standards of employee conduct: Rule 16-Misusing official position for personal gain.” The letter goes on to state, “you attempted to use your official position with the parole board and ODRC to influence the arresting officer…”

Jackson, who is charged with OVI and other traffic violations, was arrested on November 12, 2017. He is scheduled to go to trial on June 18.

Dash camera video recorded by Ohio State Highway Patrol – and obtained by 10 Investigates – shows Jackson referenced his job with the state at least three times while Trooper Steven Mahl was conducting a traffic stop in east Franklin County.

Jackson initially refused to take a field sobriety test but after learning he was going to be placed under arrest, he agreed.

Mahl said: “I’ve asked you, you said you didn’t want to do any test.”

Jackson: “Well because I’m…because I work for the governor’s office they are always telling me don’t do that kind of stuff, try to just get out of it and see if you can go home. I’m right here at the house.”

A spokesman for Governor John Kasich denied knowing Jackson in an emailed response to 10 Investigates. The statement went on to say Jackson’s “comments are false and ridiculous. Moreover, the only guidance we have on drinking and driving is to follow the law and not to do it.”

Earlier in the traffic stop, dash camera video shows Jackson showed Mahl his badge. Mahl can be heard asking: “Where’s that badge come back to Mike?”

Jackson says: “Adult Parole Authority.”

Mahl: “The Parole Authority?”

Mahl then asks Jackson how much he’d had to drink that night. That portion of the audio from that dash camera provided to 10 Investigates was redacted. But during an April court hearing, Mahl testified that Jackson admitted to consuming between two to three drinks before getting behind the wheel of his Ford F-150.

Earlier in the traffic stop, the dash camera video shows Mahl asks Jackson to step out of his truck. At that point, Jackson says: “Really?” And again references that “I’m with state parole.”

Jackson hung up on a 10 Investigates reporter Friday, but during a brief interview before his most recent court appearance in late April, Jackson denied abusing his position, despite dash camera video that shows he referenced his position with the trooper.

When asked by a 10 Investigates reporter if he was attempting to get out of the OVI arrest, Jackson said: “No, that’s not the case… now whether I was afraid or tongue-tied possibly, but that’s not the case.”

When asked directly by a reporter: “Are you saying you didn’t say that?”

Jackson said: “I’m saying that’s not what was intended. If that is what came out I am not certain.”

But Judge James O’Grady said during that April 25 hearing that he thought Jackson’s intentions were clear.

“To put forth, you know, I’m in law enforcement, I have a badge, I work for the governor, that is…it’s clear why that was done. I have no doubt in my mind. That was absolutely done to ‘we’re on the same side – gimme a break and let me go.’”

Calls and emails placed with Jackson’s attorney Thursday and Friday were not returned. A clerk tells 10 Investigates Jackson’s trial is still set for June 18.

Jackson becomes the third parole member to leave the parole board since February.

Two others – Richard Cholar Jr. and Andre Imbrogno – have also left the parole board in recent months. Cholar could not be reached.

Imbrogno, who remains with ODRC’s legal services division, declined to answer a reporter’s questions. He referred questions to an ODRC spokeswoman.

An ODRC spokeswoman did reply back to 10 Investigates saying that one board member had been re-assigned and the other’s term was not renewed. No further explanation was given.

https://www.10tv.com/article/ex-parole-board-member-denies-he-used-position-get-out-drunken-driving-charge

OWI suspect puts on striptease while under arrest

WEST BEND — An OWI suspect in West Bend puts on a striptease for officers while he’s under arrest. The bizarre behavior was all caught on camera.

Officials say Craig Abel was placed in a holding cell at the West Bend Police Department after being arrested for allegedly crashing his vehicle into a house. That’s when he started to expose himself and make obscene gestures.

As soon as the handcuffs came off, so did Abel’s clothes.

The 46-year-old can be seen slapping his bare stomach and mooning the camera.

“It was just, I don’t know,” said Jeannine Waterson

The footage left Jeannine Waterson speechless knowing the reason behind Abel’s actions.

“I was just trying to get everything done, laundry put away, dishes in the dishwasher,” Waterson said. “And then all of a sudden I heard tires squealing and then a big crash and then the whole house shook.”

Just after 2 a.m. Saturday morning, May 26 police say Abel crashed his vehicle into a home on Julen Circle, then drove off. When Waterson got outside, she discovered it was her neighbor’s side of the duplex that had been hit.

“If it had hit two feet over, it would have hit their bedroom,” said Waterson.

Charlene and John Pedersen were out of town for the holiday weekend. They came home to a gaping hole in their garage and a lot of questions.

“It was a shock. I just felt like I got hit in the face,” said Charlene. “How could this have happened to us?”

Police say this is Abel’s sixth OWI offense. The victims hope the seemingly silly video of his behavior after the crime shines a light on the serious consequences of driving under the influence.

“They need to make the law tougher for drunk drivers. This is just getting ridiculous because so many people are getting hurt, killed,” said Waterson.

In addition to an OWI, hit-and-run, and probation violation charge, Abel was also charged with disorderly conduct for exposing himself in the holding cell — as well as obstructing an officer for allegedly giving police a false name upon his arrest.

OWI suspect puts on striptease while under arrest in West Bend

Man sues over fabricated field sobriety test

STEINERT_LIVE_PD_PIC

Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Steinert in a picture from the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that promoted the agency’s participation in the program “Live PD.” Steinert, who resigned under a cloud last year, was chosen to be featured in the show

Ryan Heyd, whose DWI case was thrown out when a friend’s cellphone video contradicted what a deputy claimed a field sobriety test showed, is now suing in federal court over his 2016 arrest, claiming St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith and then-Deputy Ricky Steinert violated his civil rights.

The criminal case against Heyd was dismissed a year ago, after the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office discovered that Steinert fabricated information about Heyd’s field sobriety test.

On the police report, Steinert wrote that Heyd swayed, lost his balance and lost count during the test, but the video showed he did none of those things.

Steinert resigned from the Sheriff’s Office in the wake of an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter. According to the report on the investigation, he admitted cutting and pasting material from prior reports into his report on Heyd’s arrest.

The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, says that Steinert fabricated “facts” to justify the initial traffic stop on Heyd and also to support the claim that he did poorly on the field sobriety test.

Former St. Tammany deputy fired from new agency after falsified DWI report allegations surface

Heyd, who lives in Slidell, was illegally arrested in January 2016 and prosecuted through May 26, 2017, his last trial date, the suit says. His liberty was curtailed during that period because he had to take random drug tests and also was required to install an ignition interlock device on his car. Since he couldn’t afford that, the suit says, he was unable to drive.

The conditions of his bond forbade him from traveling out of state.

“This pretrial detention and curtailment of his liberty and personal freedom occurred as a result of the wrongful institution of legal process,” the suit says, calling it a violation of his right against illegal search and seizure and his right to due process.

His arrest and prosecution, without probable cause, were also malicious under state law, the suit says.

A spokesman for Smith, Capt. Scott Lee, said in an email late Friday that the sheriff had not yet been served with a copy of Heyd’s lawsuit and therefore could not comment on specific allegations in it.

However, he said, “Sheriff Smith would point out that the incident in question occurred under the prior administration of Jack Strain, and that Sheriff Smith has asked the Louisiana attorney general to investigate this matter regarding former deputy Steinert’s conduct.”

When questions first arose about Steinert’s actions, Smith said he did not believe that Steinert had broken the law.

“I’m convinced that this type of police activity has been going on for years,” said Gary Bizal, an attorney for Heyd. “It’s great that there are now video cameras that can catch these guys in their lies.”

But the camera in question belonged to Heyd’s friend. St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office deputies do not have body cameras or dashboard cameras.

Without the video, it would have been Heyd’s word against that of the deputy. And Heyd, a 30-year-old National Guard member, had a previous DWI on his record.

BY DREAMS MEDIA FUSION – Just two days after it was reported that GMA co-anchor La…

Among other things, Steinert’s report said that Heyd lost his balance from the starting position three times before beginning a walk-and-turn test and missed four steps in all, stepping off the line.

But the video shows him walking heel to toe, arms at his sides, without wobbling.

His case was not the only one where evidence surfaced that Steinert, a former parish “deputy of the year” who made 117 arrests from 2015 until his departure last year, had fabricated results on field sobriety tests. An arrest report that Steinert wrote about Darren McFarland was identical to Heyd’s in key passages.

McFarland was found guilty of DWI despite blowing 0.063 on the breathalyzer, below the level where intoxication is presumed. Steinert was the only witness for the prosecution.

The DA’s Office later vacated McFarland’s conviction.

Former St. Tammany deputy fired from new agency after falsified DWI report allegations surface

Steinert, who was hired by the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office after leaving St. Tammany, was fired from that job in March after the agency there learned about the circumstances of his departure from St. Tammany.

In case of St. Tammany deputy accused of lying on DWI, Louisiana AG asked to review

He was not criminally prosecuted for his alleged actions in St. Tammany, but following news coverage of the matter, Smith asked state Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office to review the case.

http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/courts/article_eb1f0e66-605e-11e8-b155-df51e7ae985c.html

Man charged with DUI after woman thrown off erratic motorcycle

HAGERSTOWN, Md – A woman was taken to a trauma center with serious injuries Tuesday after she was thrown off an erratic motorcycle and her head hit the ground.

The driver of the motorcycle, Gregory Schoen, 38, was charged with DUI, according to Maryland State Police.

MSP said the Hagerstown station was notified at about 4:49 p.m. Tuesday that a female passenger, later identified as Kaleigh Barr, 29, had been thrown off a Harley Davidson motorcycle on Leitersburg Pike near Longmeadow Road and may have been run over.

More: Chambersburg Police looking for man in connection to Sheetz robbery

Police learned the man operating the motorcycle, Gregory Schoen, 38, had been seen speeding and passing vehicles at a high rate of speed while traveling south on Leitersburg Pike. A witness said Schoen was in the opposing lane of traffic passing vehicles when a vehicle began approaching him, and he quickly swerved back into his lane.

The maneuver caused Barr to be thrown off the motorcycle, police said. She struck her head on the pavement, causing her helmet to come off. She was not run over, as an initial report stated.

More: Chambersburg woman tried to run over another woman with her own SUV, police say

Barr was seriously injured and flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. She was released on Wednesday, police said.

After he completed field sobriety tests, police arrested Schoen for DUI. A breath test showed Schoen’s blood alcohol content was .10, police said. The state’s attorney may file additional charges against Schoen.

https://www.publicopiniononline.com/story/news/local/2018/05/30/woman-thrown-off-erratic-motorcycle-hagerstown-md/656607002/

Man pleads guilty in drunk driving wreck that killed NOPD officer

Chau Nguyen pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with a drunk driving wreck that killed New Orleans Police Officer Natasha Hunter in 2016.
Chau Nguyen pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with a drunk driving wreck that killed New Orleans Police Officer Natasha Hunter in 2016.(courtesy of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office)

A man charged in a drunk driving wreck that killed New Orleans Police Officer Natasha Hunter in 2016 pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Tuesday (May 29), and will face up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

Chau Nguyen, 35, who had been out of jail since posting bond four months after the wreck, was remanded to the sheriff’s office following his plea, according to court records.

Authorities said on June 5, 2016, Nguyen’s four-door Acura sedan hit the back of Hunter’s marked patrol car that was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 10 near the Esplanade Avenue exit. She was investigating a crash when her car was hit around 2:30 a.m., and her vehicle’s emergency lights were flashing.

NOPD Officer Natasha Hunter

Hunter suffered traumatic head injuries in the crash, and died two days later.

Nguyen, who was in pharmacy school at the time of the wreck, also was injured in the crash. Prosecutors said he failed field sobriety tests and admitted to drinking alcohol at a casino prior to driving.

His blood-alcohol concentration measured at 0.16 after the crash, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hunter, 32, joined the New Orleans Police Department in December 2004. She was the mother of a 5-year-old girl.

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2018/05/man_charged_in_drunk_driving_w.html