The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 15, 2014

APD officer arrested for OVI

ASHTABULA — An Ashtabula Police Department patrolman, who was arrested on a charge  of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, has been temporarily removed from his position with the department.

Patrolman Wayne Howell Jr. was stopped in Willoughby by the Willoughby Police Department on June 21 and released with a warning. He was told to arrange for a ride home. However, when the officer left the scene, Howell got back in his vehicle and drove off, according to authorities.

He was stopped a short time later in Painesville by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and arrested on the OVI charge.

 Howell was stopped for a marked lane violation and given a , according to the OHP. His blood alcohol level was .159, almost two times the legal limit of .08.

Willoughby Police Chief Jack Beckwith said the Willoughby officer “exercised discretion” and did not arrest Howell.

Beckwith said his department does let motorists go with a warning from time-to-time. He said the decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

“There’s no hard fast rule how its determined,” he said. “We’ve let citizens go and we’ve arrested cops before. In this case, it may not have been a good idea.”

Beckwith said the officer told Howell to arrange for a ride home, but did not take the proper measures to ensure Howell did not get back on the road.

“We did not act properly,” he said.

Beckwith said disciplinary action will be taken against the officer; however, that action has not been determined yet.

“We’re going to look into seeing what’s appropriate,” he said.

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said Howell took a temporary demotion and is suspended as a police officer. He is working as a dispatcher and was given a $5.50 per hour pay cut as well.

Howell’s driver’s license has been suspended, but he has work privileges to drive to and from work, Stell said.

Howell also will be required to undergo an alcohol abuse assessment before he will be allowed to return to full duty. Stell said additional disciplinary action was taken as well.

Howell is scheduled to appear in Painesville Municipal Court at 8 a.m. today for a pre-trial hearing on the OVI charge as well as an appeals hearing for his suspended license, according to Painesville Municipal Court records.

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