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State Highway Patrol trooper drove drunk, police say

TNS Regional News • Feb 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM

A State Highway Patrol trooper assigned to the motorcycle unit in Columbus was arrested in the Short North on Sunday evening and charged with driving while heavily intoxicated.

Jeremy Garner, 35, of the South Side, was arrested by a Columbus police officer while driving along Starr Avenue near N. High Street, according to court records.

Garner’s blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.27 percent, more than three times the 0.08 percent level at which a driver is presumed to be drunk in Ohio, officials said.

He also was charged with failure to control. Garner’s SUV struck two parked cars, and he tried to drive away, according to a crash report obtained by WBNS-TV (Channel 10).

Nicole Celebreeze, a Starr Avenue resident, told WBNS that she heard a “loud boom” outside and saw that her car had been hit. She said the man in the SUV tried to drive away but his wheel was turned sideways.

“He pretty much fell out of the automobile,” Celebreeze said. “He didn’t seem coherent. I doubt he remembered anything that occurred.”

Garner, who was off-duty and not driving a state vehicle, faces an internal investigation, said Lt. Anne Ralston, patrol spokeswoman. He is taking vacation days and has not returned to the job, she said.

Garner is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of drunken driving and failure to control on Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Garner, a trooper since 2002, was convicted of drunken driving in 2007 in municipal court after he was caught driving 69 mph in a 35-mph zone in Grove City. He pleaded guilty to the drunken-driving charge, and two other charges — high-tier drunken driving and speeding — were dropped.

His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.21 percent, but the results were thrown out because of a testing-machine problem. He served three days of a largely suspended jail sentence and received a six-month license suspension.

The patrol could not immediately find records yesterday to determine what discipline he received after the 2007 DUI conviction, Ralston said.


By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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