Police hold sobriety checkpoint honoring family of man killed by drunk driver

MASSILLON, Ohio -- Police in one Ohio community are honoring the family of a man impacted by a driver who made the decision to drink and get behind the wheel; one minute he was on a date with his wife, then suddenly his life was snatched away by a drunk driver.

Stark County Sheriff's deputies and members of the OVI Task Force operated a check point to deter and detain impaired drivers on Erie Street, South in Massillon Thursday evening.

"I'm just thinking of all the lives these people could have changed, it's blowing my mind, we haven't been here, what fifteen minutes maybe? and they're pulling them over left and right, they're nailing these people, these people don't care," said Lisa Arnold.

Lisa Arnold looked on with a heavy heart. Last November, her 28-year-old son Joshua Hochstetler was killed by a drunk driver several blocks away at Route 21 and Walnut Road.
His wife was seriously injured.

Thursday's checkpoint is set up in his honor.  Each year, Stark County law enforcement remembers a family touched by a drunk driving tragedy.

"He was out on a date night with his wife, they had been to dinner and a movie and they were stopped at a red light, the car next to them were best friends of theirs," Arnold said.

"A drunk driver came from behind and hit them at a high rate of speed, actually pushed his car into a car that was in front of them, tragically Josh lost his life," said Major C.J. Stantz, with the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

At the checkpoint, deputies handed out cards with Josh's story on the front and impaired driving statistics on the back. Josh is the 277th person to die in Stark County in alcohol or drug related crashes since 2000.

"He's so young and for a drunk driver to have killed somebody so young and his life was so short," said driver Brittanie Harber.

"I'm out to tell you, if you're gonna drink and drive, we're gonna get you," said Major Stantz.

It’s a message too late for Josh and his family.

"Had he gone through something like this, he wouldn't have killed my son," said his mother.

According to the sheriff’s office, last year, 52% of traffic fatalities in Stark County involved alcohol or drugs. The state and national averages are between 31% and 33%.

53-year-old Richard Hardesty is charged with aggravated vehicle homicide. His trial is set for November.