A Norwalk driver who nearly hit a sheriff's cruiser has been charged with a felony count of driving under the influence.
Tricia A. Hoover, 38, of 20 Reed St., also was charged with prohibited concentration, a marked lanes violation and approaching public safety vehicle displaying its emergency lights. The DUI, a fourth-degree felony, and three misdemeanors are in connection with a U.S. 250 traffic stop about 2:50 a.m. Sunday.
If convicted of the DUI, Hoover faces six to 18 months behind bars. According to the Erie County Sheriff's Office, she has five prior DUI convictions within the past 20 years -- in January 2010, March 2005, October 1998, September 1997 and May 1997.
Deputy Anthony Dauch was handling a U.S. 250 traffic stop north of West Ohio 113 when he saw a 2005 Chevrolet traveling toward him early Sunday.
"The vehicle did not get into the left lane while passing my cruiser and nearly struck me and my cruiser. There were no other vehicles on the roadway at the time. I terminated the traffic stop I was currently on and pursued the above vehicle," the deputy wrote in his report.
"While traveling behind the vehicle, it continually drifted over the white fog line almost half the car length several times. I activated my overhead lights and the vehicle continued southbound for approximately a quarter of a mile before coming to a stop just north of Ohio 113 East," Dauch wrote.
The deputy said Hoover, who "appeared very lethargic," tried using "several buttons before finally rolling down the window." Dauch also noted the driver wasn't able to produce her driver's license or insurance.
"While speaking with Tricia, I could detect a very strong odor of intoxicants. Her eyes were very glassy and bloodshot. Her speech was also extremely slurred," the deputy wrote.
Hoover, when asked how much alcohol she had that night, told the deputy she had "a couple beers."
"Once outside the vehicle, Tricia had to use her vehicle to maintain her balance," the deputy continued.
Hoover agreed to submit to field sobriety tests. The deputy, when checking the suspect's eyes, said Hoover swayed "back and forth and (had) trouble maintaining balance during the test" and during the walk-and-turn test, missed four of six steps.
"She used her arms for balance almost the entire test and did not touch (her) heel to (her) toe on any of the steps. Tricia made an improper turn and continued stepping off the line on the way back," said Dauch, who also wrote that Hoover couldn't complete the one-leg stand.
The deputy arrested and handcuffed Hoover and placed her in the back of his cruiser. Dauch transported her to the Perkins Township Police Department, where she submitted a breath test at 3:50 a.m. -- an hour after the stop.
"Tricia's BAC (blood-alcohol content) was found to be .232 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath," the deputy said in his report.
The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is .08 percent.
Hoover then was booked into the Erie County Jail. She was scheduled to be arraigned today in Erie County Municipal Court.