Oops! Woman without a license backs vehicle into unmarked cop car

Cary Ashby • Apr 11, 2014 at 10:05 PM

There were no injuries when a mobile-home park resident backed into local detectives' unmarked car Wednesday.

Norwalk Police Detective Sgts. Jim Fulton and Seth Fry were in the 2001 Buick LeSabre between 2 and 2:30 p.m. in the Rustic Hills Mobile Home Park.

"Jim Fulton was driving," Chief Dave Light said. "They were at Rustic Hills. They were sitting still. One of the residents backed up into the passenger side."

Light said the detectives were at the mobile home park for an investigation, but declined to elaborate.

"It was a METRICH investigation," the chief added.

METRICH is a 10-county drug task force, which includes Huron County law enforcement officers.

The unmarked car was "scuffed" on the back door and the rear.

"The lady who backed up had no (proof of) insurance and no driver's license," Light said.

Jessica L. Rothgeb, 27, of 5144 N. U.S. 250, Lot 135, was charged with driving with a suspended license.

"She backed out of her driveway," said Fulton, who added the damage to the car appeared to be minimal.

Police requested the Huron County Sheriff's Office handle the accident report, which lists the incident as a "private property crash."

Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said Detective Eric Bardar was assigned to the case because the sheriff's office was short-handed with road deputies Wednesday. Bardar arrived at the scene at 3:37 p.m.

"It happened quite a while before that," Fulton said.

Once the crash report is completed, it will be forwarded to the Norwalk safety-service director's office. Police said that's standard procedure for all accidents involving city vehicles.

Rothgeb's 1-year-old son Chad was in her vehicle when the collision happened. Neither she nor her son were injured. Fulton and Fry also escaped injury.

However, a woman who was sitting in the back seat of the unmarked police vehicle said her "back was sore as a result of the accident," according to the sheriff's report.

Light said "nobody went to the hospital" as a result of the accident.

Rothgeb told deputies a mix-up at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is responsible for her license being shown as suspended. She also said recently she was pulled over and cited for driving under suspension.

When asked why she knowingly was driving with a suspended license Thursday, Rothgeb told deputies she still has to drive to work to support her family.

She was ordered to appear Monday afternoon in Norwalk Municipal Court and told to bring proof of insurance.

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