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OIU trace-back investigations offer additional penalties for alcohol-related incidents

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jan 29, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Agents with the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit recently charged a 45-year-old Cincinnati man with furnishing alcohol to a 19-year-old.

Agents determined that Frank E. Hochstuhl purchased beer at a Cincinnati-area grocery store on January 12 and then provided the alcohol to Alex M. Tarter, 19, of Cincinnati. Later that evening, Tarter was involved in a single-vehicle crash on State Route 222. Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol charged Tarter with OVI and referred the case to agents for a trace-back investigation.

Trace-back investigations involve tracing the source of alcohol, whether it is sold or provided to an underage or an already intoxicated individual, following a serious injury or fatal crash, or an alcohol - related incident.

In 2013, agents investigated 131 trace-back cases. Of those, 122 were crash related, including 66 fatal and 50 injury crashes. Nine of the 131 cases were other alcohol-related incidents. Agents filed criminal charges in 13 cases, filed administrative charges in eight cases, and both criminal and administrative charges in seven cases.

“Trace-back investigations are another tool for all of law enforcement to use when investigating crashes or other incidents involving underage alcohol consumption or someone who may have been over-served,” Agent-in-Charge Eric Wolf said.

The presence of alcohol in fatal crashes continues to be a significant problem in Ohio. Retailers and those over 21 are reminded to never provide or sell alcohol to an underage person. Doing so could result in criminal charges or result in administrative charges against the liquor permit.

Motorists are reminded to call #677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.

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