Sandusky police officer arrested on OVI and felony charges

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ERIE COUNTY, Ohio – The FOX 8 I-Team has found a veteran police officer facing felony and misdemeanor charges, after being arrested Sunday night for allegedly driving drunk.

Sandusky Police Officer Kenneth Gautschi Jr. was stopped on Fox Road by an Erie County sheriff’s deputy around 10:30 p.m. Sunday. He was off duty at the time.

The deputy stopped the vehicle Gautschi was driving for speeding. According to reports, the officer was driving about 20 miles over the posted 55 mph speed limit.

Moments after the stop, the deputy called for a sergeant.

The FOX 8 I-Team obtained the deputy's body camera video.

The deputy can be heard telling Gautschi that he felt the officer was under the influence of alcohol.

“I’m trying to understand why you think I’m an OVI,” Gautschi can be heard asking the deputy.

The deputy said he smelled the odor of alcohol and that Gautschi was slurring his words.

“I’m slurred,” Gautschi asked.

Gautschi was taken to the Ohio State Highway Patrol post for a blood-alcohol breath test, where he blew a .169, the report states. The legal limit in Ohio is .08.

He was also charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and felony vandalism for allegedly causing damage to the cruiser by striking it while wearing handcuffs. The report said the cruiser had a large dent and several scratches.

“We treated him like we treat anyone else,” said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth.

Sandusky Police Chief John Orzech said Gautschi has been with the department for 19 years, and has done good work during that time.

Gautschi has now been placed on a paid administrative leave pending the completion of an internal investigation.

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