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A free pass for a drunk cop?

 
Posted Wednesday, July 16th 2014 @ 12pm

(Lake County) - An internal investigation is underway regarding an alleged drunk driving incident in Willoughby.

Last month, an Ashtabula police officer was pulled over in his pick-up truck near SOM Center Road and Euclid Avenue at 1am.

A Willoughby police officer responded when his department received a call about a drunk driver. After stopping the vehicle he discovered that the man behind the wheel, 33 year old Wayne Howell Jr. was a Ashtabula cop.

Howell was told to park his vehicle and get a ride home, then the Willoughby officer left the scene.

Howell was later pulled over by a state trooper on State Route 44 in Concord Township. Howell was arrested for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Willoughby Police Chief Jack Beckwith says his officers have the discretion to decide if a motorist should be charged with drunk driving.

He tells Newsradio WTAM 1100, sometimes officers take the motorist home or have them call for ride depending on the situation.

Beckwith admits that his officer made a mistake in not staying on the scene until Howell was actually taken home.

He's glad no one was hurt in the incident, and says the department takes full responsibility for what happened.

Howell has been demoted from patrolman to dispatcher, and has pleaded not guilty to OVI. A hearing is set for August.

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(Copyright © 2014 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved.)

(Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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