Officer suspected of OVI after on-duty crash

A Piqua police officer pleaded not guilty to driving while under the influence Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court.

Justin Augustine’s attorney, Mark Wieczorek, filed the written plea.

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An arraignment had been scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Augustine was also charged with operating a vehicle without being in reasonable control.

Body camera footage obtained by this news organization shows the moments after Piqua Officer Justin Augustine was taken back to the police station following an on-duty crash.

Augustine is facing an OVI charge and was placed on paid administrative leave because of the incident.

A Piqua police officer is facing an OVI charge and is under administrative investigation following a crash while he was on duty.

Officer Justin Augustine, 38, is charged with OVI and operating a vehicle without reasonable control, according to records.

“The first principle in any internal investigation is the department’s duty to the public,” said Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison. “The second principle is the duty to provide fair procedures to any officer involved.”

Augustine reported the Oct. 27 crash to a supervisor, according to a press release from the Piqua Police Department.

Body camera footage obtained by this news organization shows the moments after Piqua Officer Justin Augustine was taken back to the police station following an on-duty crash.

A portion of body camera footage was released Monday evening and showed Augustine saying he was “done” and “****ed up.”

This news organization attempted to contact Augustine at his home, however no one answered the door.

A police report said he told the supervisor, Lt. Rick Byron, he damaged the cruiser when he stopped in the lot to go the bathroom. A crash report said the cruiser passenger side hit a flatbed semi-trailer parked in the lot, causing heavy damage to the cruiser.

“Officer Augustine walked me to the passenger side of his patrol vehicle, where I observed significant damage to the entire passenger side starting at the front windshield and ending on the rear quarter panel,” officers wrote in a police report read. “While speaking with Officer Augustine, I observed that his eyes were bloodshot and red and that his speech was slow and slurred.”

The crash was in the 700 block of East Ash Street around 7:30 p.m., records showed.

A short time later, after Augustine had been taken back to the police station, another officer told the supervisor investigating that he felt the supervisor “needed to go on station to deal with Officer Augustine as he appeared to be impaired and was demonstrating odd behavior, to include hugging and kissing him and other officers and telling them that he loved them,” the report read.

Augustine told investigators “he had been drunk today, but denied being drunk now,” according to the report.

Police ended up finding Four Loko Gold alcoholic beverage can in the driver’s door of Augustine’s personal vehicle at the police station and also located a can of the same drink near the crash scene, the report read.

Augustine is due in court for arraignment on Wednesday and was placed on paid administrative leave.


Scooters pose questions on DUI and OVI risks

Oxford law firm Rittgers & Rittgers is anticipating a new issue for the Miami University and Oxford community: scootering while intoxicated.

In an Oct. 9 blog post on the firm’s website, Charles Rittgers said many people have been interested in this issue with the influx of scooters into the city over the past month. He went on to answer some of the commonly asked questions people have had.

There has been confusion over whether or not one has to be on public property to be arrested for an OVI/DUI.

“The Revised Code prohibits operating any vehicle ‘within the state’ while impaired; therefore, you can be cited while on your own property,” Rittgers wrote. “For example, you can be cited for OVI for mowing your lawn on a riding lawnmower if you are impaired.”

Rittgers next analyzed whether or not an e-scooter is classified as a motor vehicle.

“The Revised Code defines ‘motor vehicle’ as ‘every vehicle propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power…except motorized bicycles…’ The Bird and Lime scooters are propelled by ‘power other than muscular power.’ So, it appears they qualify. But the Revised Code creates a specific exception for ‘motorized bicycles,’” he wrote.

Rittgers examined the overarching question: can one receive a(n) DUI/OVI for riding an e-scooter while intoxicated?

“Whether the City of Cincinnati, the City of Oxford or Miami University police departments will cite for riding Bird or Lime scooters under the influence of alcohol/drugs is unknown. But Ohio law does not appear to prohibit them from doing so.”

Lieutenant Lara Fening of the Oxford Police Department (OPD) said the OPD has not encountered a “scootering while intoxicated” situation yet, but violators here in Oxford would likely be charged under OVI/DUI laws.

Scooters pose questions on DUI and OVI risks

Don’t be haunted by impaired driving arrest

Law enforcement DUI campaign continues through Nov. 1

Law enforcement agencies around the state will continue targeting impaired drivers for the Halloween Heat Is On enforcement campaign through Nov. 1.

The latest enforcement period began Friday night, with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and law enforcement throughout the state partnering to increase DUI enforcement, arresting drivers impaired by alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. The campaign aims to eliminate drunk driving related injuries and fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 44 percent of all traffic fatalities on Halloween night between 2012-2016 involved a drunk driving related crash, while 14 percent of all pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involved a drunk driver. In 2016, 21- to 34-year-olds accounted for the most fatalities (46 percent) in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night.

“We have zero tolerance for those who choose to drive impaired and we are committed to keeping all Coloradans safe,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Thousands of children and families will be out and about trick-or-treating and enjoying other festivities this Halloween. Drunk drivers selfishly put themselves and others at risk.”

Last year’s Halloween DUI enforcement resulted in 375 DUI arrests, with the Colorado State Patrol (68), Colorado Springs Police Department (29) and Denver Police Department (28) citing the most arrests. The Sterling Police Department and Logan County Sheriff’s Office each reported two arrests during the 2017 campaign.


“There will be more pedestrians out on Halloween evening, so we’re asking motorists to drive alert and without distractions. If you do plan to drive, do so sober,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It’s a matter of personal accountability. There are many alternative options to driving under the influence, including public transportation and ride-hailing services. Remember, if you feel different, you drive different.”

The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 14 specific, high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at

Police chief charged with DWI after allegedly crashing patrol car

Bertram Police Chief James Wilson was charged with a DWI Thursday after he was indicted earlier this month in an incident regarding hay bales.

Wilson was booked and released on Thursday, according to online records.

The documents show DPS troopers were called to the 5000 block of RM 1431 on Wednesday for reports of a crashed vehicle in the ravine. At 8:34 p.m., troopers found a marked Bertram Police Department unit inside the tree line off the north edge of the roadway with noticeable damage. DPS said the vehicle was locked and abandoned, but the trooper could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage at the scene.


DPS confirmed Wilson was the driver of the vehicle by completing a driver’s license check. Dispatchers advised the trooper that Wilson was going to the Scott & White hospital in Marble Falls.

DPS spoke with a witness on scene, who advised he saw Wilson walking out of the tree line toward the roadway. He reported that he asked Wilson if he was OK and if he needed to go the hospital, but Wilson told him he didn’t. Instead, he requested a ride to Horseshoe Bay, so the witness took him and dropped him off at the Justice of the Peace Precinct #1 office.

Once making contact with Wilson at the hospital, DPS said they noticed he had bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and smelled of alcohol. Though he denied drinking alcohol and complying to a horizontal gaze nystagmus, he consented to a giving a blood sample.

He was arrested after leaving the hospital, troopers said. DPS believes the crash was caused due to Wilson traveling at an unsafe speed and wet road conditions.

This charge comes after Wilson was accused of official oppression, misuse of official information and aggravated perjury in an incident in which he allegedly deprived a man of his hay bales and threatened to tow his truck away if the man did not give them over to a woman in August 2017.

Wilson was indicted by a grand jury on these charges earlier this month. He turned himself into law enforcement on Oct. 3.

Two officers arrested for OWI after motorcycle crash