Ohio trooper honored for stopping intoxicated wrong-way driver

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio-- A trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol was honored on Thursday for his heroic actions.

Sgt. David Garber was recognized for pursuing and safely stopping a wrong-way driver on Interstate 77 in Stark County on Jan. 17.

(Photo: Dave Nethers/Fox 8 News)
(Photo: Dave Nethers/Fox 8 News)

He crossed paths with the driver in the southbound lanes while responding to another call.

Dash camera video shows him turning on his overhead lights as the driver approaches heading north. Sgt. Garber turned and pursued him, but the driver continues going the wrong way even as Garber is next to him.

"I knew it was serious once he passed me and didn't stop. He passed me pretty closely. I intentionally entered his lane so he could see me. He didn't pull over so at that point I knew it was going to be serious," Garber said.

The trooper eventually did a "pit maneuver" that causes the impaired driver to swerve and finally come to a stop.

"Dave made the decision, the correct decision, to turn around to attempt to stop the driver, which, of course, also caused Dave to also have to go the wrong way briefly on Interstate 77," Captain Chris Zurcher said.

No one was injured.

"He had 151 OVI arrests last year. That's the potential of saving 151 lives for every person he removed from the roadway. This night he saved at least one person's life that was the driver that was impaired operating that vehicle on the interstate," said Lt. Leo Shirkey, Commander of the Canton Highway Patrol Post.

The driver, Todd Steiger, 22, of Canton, was arrested on site. The patrol said he had a .23 blood-alcohol level, which is three times the legal limit.

Garber started with the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 2000.

Two crashes were caused by wrong-way drivers in Cuyahoga County recently. One claimed the life of a 20-year-old college student. The other driver, who survived, is facing murder charges.

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