I-TEAM: Cleveland police captain suspected of drunk driving in Twinsburg now charged

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TWINSBURG, Ohio (WJW) -- A Cleveland Police Captain has now been hit with a criminal charge after the FOX 8 I-TEAM revealed that he’d been suspected of drunk driving and simply allowed to get a ride home.

Twinsburg Police have charged John Sotomayor with physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

Police video showed that on Christmas night Twinsburg officers found Sotomayor behind the wheel of his truck on the side of the highway. Authorities suspected he had driven drunk.

Twinsburg officers took his gun and towed his truck, but let him call his wife for a ride home.

The I-TEAM put a spotlight on the case, and the Twinsburg Police Department took another look at it. They found the officers should not have given the Cleveland Police Captain special treatment.

Twinsburg Police conducted an internal investigation, looking at how their officers gave that break along the highway.

On, Wednesday, the I-TEAM went to their headquarters to talk to the chief about the incident.

Twinsburg Police Chief Christopher Noga said, “I don’t want the public to think that this is what we’re all about.”

He says what happened along the highway on Christmas night hurts the public trust in law enforcement.

The chief says he and his command staff spoke to the officers involved about policies and what they did. However, they won’t be disciplined.

He identified the Twinsburg officers involved as Maggie Hunter and Sgt. Robert Waltz. He calls them “shining stars” in the department.

“Definitely not termination. Not a 6-month suspension. I want them to learn and move on. I think I can say for sure that it’s not going to happen again," the chief told the I-TEAM/

Personnel files for those officers show high marks.

However, only one of the officers wore a body camera. The chief confirmed the sergeant did not and he should have. The chief says the sergeant’s regular body camera needed to be repaired, but he should have grabbed another one.

Sotomayor will get a chance to start defending himself soon in Stow Municipal Court. Twinsburg officers did not give him any sobriety tests at the scene, but they now still may have to prove he should not have been behind the wheel.

The captain could also face internal discipline from the Cleveland Police Department.

Continuing coverage, here.

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