AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A local police officer is suing the Ohio State Highway Patrol, claiming a state trooper violated his civil rights when she arrested him for drunk driving. The federal lawsuit claims the trooper had no reason to pull him over or charge him with being impaired.
Around 10:15 p.m. last Fourth of July, fireworks were lighting up the sky in Akron as Ohio State Trooper Kelsee Osborn followed a pickup truck northbound on Route 8 near I-77. She pulled the driver over near Perkins Street, claiming he was speeding and weaving out of his lane.
“Why are you speeding like that?” the trooper is heard asking the driver in the dashcam video, provided by the State Highway Patrol.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” she asked.
The driver, off-duty Northfield Village police officer Craig Wilson, says he drank one beer an hour earlier and was rushing to get home because his wife needed to leave for work. Trooper Osborn administered several field sobriety tests.
The trooper tried to give a breath test, but the equipment malfunctions. According to the video, Wilson refused to blow into the other trooper’s breathalyzer, questioning why they suspected him of being impaired.
“Just because you weren’t falling over, alright, doesn’t mean there’s not clues that I’m getting signs of other impairment,” Trooper Osborn said. “Your speech, you couldn’t maintain lanes, your speed was up and down, up and down, up and down and then yeah, the eyes are enough to arrest you, ok.”
She then arrests Wilson, and reads him his Miranda rights.
“I counted the steps out loud. I had my hands down on my sides. I didn’t stumble,” says Wilson.
“You’re a patrolman, you know how to do these tests,” says Osborn.
“Me being a police officer is not a reason to arrest me for OVI,” Wilson responds.
Wilson was charged with OVI and weaving in marked lanes, charges prosecutors dismissed weeks later.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Akron Wednesday against Trooper Osborn and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the “dashboard video camera depicts no such ‘heavy swerving’ or marked lanes violations” and the “audio depicts him as being alert and speaking clearly.”
In a statement, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, “We have the utmost respect for the legal process of our court systems. With any litigation, we will engage with the process as the case moves forward.”