Longtime St. John’s Jesuit High School basketball coach Ed Heintschel tendered a no-contest plea, and an apology, Tuesday in Maumee Municipal Court for driving while intoxicated.
“I’m just very sorry,” he told the court. “I apologize to all.”
Mr. Heintschel, 62, of Blissfield, Mich., was convicted of the misdemeanor charge and sentenced by Judge Gary Byers to complete a three-day driver intervention program and pay a $400 fine and court costs. His driver’s license was suspended for 180 days, although he was granted occupational driving privileges and given credit for the license suspension he’s already served since his November arrest.
Judge Byers also placed Mr. Heintschel on probation for three years and ordered him to participate in a victim impact panel program in May.
Maumee City Prosecutor John Arnsby told the court the incident was a first-time offense for Mr. Heintschel, who also is a guidance counselor and teacher at St. John’s Academy.
Mr. Arnsby said Mr. Heintschel was seen by a Maumee police officer driving west on Dussel Drive about 10:20 p.m. Nov. 26 when his vehicle made a wide turn and almost struck another vehicle. After he was stopped, the officer noted that he had glassy, slightly bloodshot eyes. He also performed poorly on field sobriety tests.
Mr. Arnsby said Mr. Heintschel admitted to police to having “a couple Manhattan drinks” at a local restaurant and agreed to take a Breathalyzer test at the police station. The test showed his blood-alcohol level to be .140, well above the legal limit of 0.08.
Mr. Heintschel’s attorney, Richard Hasbrook, told the court his client had an excellent driving record before this incident, had been employed at St. John’s for 39 years, and had a “pattern of demonstrated leadership and good citizenship.”
“Recognizing the error in judgment on this night, he did advise his employer forthwith and subsequently addressed the entire student body voluntarily — again, an indication of remorse,” Mr. Hasbrook said.
After the hearing, Mr. Heintschel said he asked to address the student body after his arrest became public knowledge in February because he thought that was important, given his position. In January, he was recognized for winning 600 games — only the 10th basketball coach in Ohio history to do so and the only coach to do so exclusively in Division I.
“I apologized to them and I talked about role modeling because I know that’s an issue. I talked about good and bad role modeling, and obviously, this was bad,” he said.
“I know I made a mistake,” Mr. Heintschel added. “The court has ruled on it, and obviously, I’ll learn from it."
By Jennifer Feehan - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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