Norwalk cops cleared of wrongdoing in complaint

Woman accused pair of detectives of menacing and unlawful constraint complaint after backing her car into theirs.
Scott Seitz
May 8, 2014


Two Norwalk police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing after a recent incident at the Rustic Hills mobile home park.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler reviewed the menacing and unlawful constraint complaint filed against Norwalk Police Sgts. Jim Fulton and Seth Fry involving the April 9 situation at the Rustic Hills mobile home park just outside the city limits.

Fry and Fulton, who were working a case in that area, had their unmarked police vehicle backed into by Jessica Rothgeb, who was found to be driving under suspension.

Rothgeb had claimed unlawful restraint at the hands of the Norwalk police because she wasn't immediately able to retrieve her children from the bus stop.

Rothgeb was recently found guilty of driving under suspension in that incident.

"Ms. Rothgeb claims some sort of illegal restraint at the hands of the Norwalk police," Leffler wrote in his legal opinion.

"Whenever one is involved in an automobile accident, one must remain at the scene of the accident," Leffler added. "Of course, in the context of retrieving her children her concern to get them is understandable."

Leffler wrote the only charge warranted in this situation was the driving under suspension which Huron County Sheriff's Detective Eric Bardar issued to Rothgeb upon his responding to the accident.

Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light was happy to see the issue resolved.

"Jim and Seth were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing," Light said.

"They got hit just like any other motorist," the chief added.

"They did let her walk down and get her children," Light said. "These were very serious allegations made. I think Russ Leffler made the appropriate decision."


journey rules

This thing is way to vague! Was she on private property ? Why would Norwalk cops be there,not in the city ? Were they illegally parked ? Pretty sure Norwalk doesn't pave the roads there so it must be a private property accident so shouldn't it go through a civil suit ?


You must have missed the other articles? She was on private property, but without a license so it doesn't matter. She is not allowed to drive at all. The NPD detectives were there to get a license plate number in order to positively identify the suspect in a drug case. They were not parked, but waiting in traffic to get back onto Milan Ave. Hope this clears up some confusion.


I have a question, If cops were in line waiting to "get back onto Milan Ave" you say.
How long of a line does Rustic Hills normally get?
Not knowing.
Seems to me it would only be a few homes down, therefore no need to "drive" to pick up children, but rather intent to go out and beyond trl. park after the kids got in..
Not saying, just sayin
If it backs up a long way.. It only goes to show, certain class of people are producing lazy kids (as well as themselves) that can't/refuse to walk a few hundred yards to the back side of the park.
Most are of poverty in that park and Seems to me they would need every bit of cash...
VIA wasted gas money.


Pulling into traffic at Rustic and Midtown can be quite lengthy when going left ! Not as bas as Bob Evans and Stower, obviously !


Of course Leffler sided with the Cops-city employees cover each other's a**es

Off the mark again. Leffler is a county employee, just like the sheriff and his deputies. Factor that piece of info into your incorrect comment. Now again......who is covering whose a**?

JMOP's picture

Yep, but it's the sheriff's guys giving Leffler most of the drugs cases. Lefflers a lil lazy. He doesn't fight hard for a conviction, look how druggies get off.


Why Would you think that Leffler covered their azzes?? They didn't do anything wrong. The lady filed charges because she was pissed that she got caught. Plain & simple....


Always coving each other, what are these guys doing outside of he city limits. Did these two messed up parking detectives ask the sheriff before they traveled outside their city ?


I hope your kidding, they have no need to ask the Sheriff to do their job.

J Cooper

If you don't a valid license or the financial recourses to pay for any damages resulting from an auto accident why are you driving?


What difference does it make why the cops were sitting where they were? If she is too stupid to watch where she is backing, she deserves a ticket.


This was a firvilous charge brought aginst two hardworking Norwalk Cops. Glad to see Leffler spank back the Sheriff's office. The SO should be ashamed for encouraging this woman to file these charges anyway.


If all of you defending the police in this story - I hope you know you are a huge contributor to creating a country that will be enslaved by law enforcement. You wonder why law enforcement gets away with what they do, it is because citizens allow them to. My QUESTION remains. if she had backed into someone else's car that was not law enforcement, would this have been investigated and charged the exact same way? Now a days there are so many rules and laws that citizens unknowingly break them every day. it is getting out of control!

Sitting In The ...

The answer is yes...but I have question for you, is it the cop's fault she had a suspended license? or that she failed to do something as simple as making sure nothing behind her car before she backs up? Let me guess you've been wronged by this "corrupt" police force who tickets people for violating traffic laws.


No sorry...I have not ever been wronged. However, I see like to stay current with news and politics. It helps see a more clear vision of where the country is heading. Just because it does not impact me directly does not mean I am not going to defend what is right and allow the police to monopolize our constitutional rights.

J Cooper

A person without driving privilege or insurance backed into a police car and that in some way endangers you constitutional rights, please explain.

J Cooper

"Now a days there are so many rules and laws that citizens unknowingly break them every day. it is getting out of control! She admitted she didn't have a drivers license and she backed into a police car. Every day you can read where some one is charged in an accident and driving with a valid license that didn't envolve a police car.


If she would have backed into my car I would have called the police too. If you are parked or not moving, the vehicle that is moving is (almost) always the one in the wrong. Backing into a NON-moving vehicle without a drivers license is not something NEW that was just put on the books, those laws have been around for awhile.


I think it was investigated, and became a story because she filed charges against the officers there r-tard. It didn't become all this over a driving under suspension charge.

How come no one ever just says "sorry, I was wrong and being an asshat ?" It's always the police's fault in our society! Not defending the police in all situations, but you can't get mad at them for her being too stupid to back up a car!


Rules like driving with a valid license? Yes, those are hard to follow... We must be becoming a police state.

Give me a break.

JMOP's picture

Ok, first of all, since no one was injured the police didn't need to investigate, so she could've left as long as the parties exchanged their information. The cops should know this, Leffler should know this. She didn't need to stay there.

Edit: after reading the web page it states it is not ran by the state, so maybe take it with a grain of salt. My apologies.


They wouldn't have been able to exchange information because she had no license or insurance


Has any one considered what would have happened if she backed up with out a license, and ran into or over a child on a bicycle, or a pedestrian? No license NO driving!


Has anyone considered what would have happened if she backed up over Jesus and a mariachi band playing hymns?
Just the facts ma'am.

Cliff Cannon

Finally ! Doesn't it make you proud to see Chief Light and Sheriff Howard leading like the real leaders they are? The ironing out of their differences, so that the 2 most powerful law enforcement agency's in the county can work together in common pursuit of the bad guy. Will no doubt be an accomplishment they both will look back on with great pride in time.

As a voting citizen. I have always voted for Mr. Leffler. This decision is one reason why. After all how much clearer can the county's chief law enforcement officer say " Enough is enough. Time to move on boy's " than to not charge N.P.D.'s fine detectives ?

So here's hoping that having all of the " Big 3 " in Huron county law enforcement moving forward. That everyone else will too. Because lets face it. Yours is a higher calling and we all look to each and everyone of you who don that uniform for moral as well as legal leadership.

Thankfully all the cops I know---except for one --- understand that. So they, like the " Big 3 " are leaders, a child can look up to and if a child looking up to you,isn't inspiration enough to rebuild, what is ?


If violating Constitutional Rights, willfully interfering with other agencies' investigations, and misleading/providing partial information under public records laws is something to proud of, then yes Howard will have much to be proud of.

This isn't about the two agencies getting along, it's about the actions of the SO and their disregard for Constitutional Rights and abiding by State laws.

Cliff-how forgiving would you be if a false complaint were initiated against you by a law enforcement agency with a vendetta? The complaint against the NPD officers should have never happened. It was bogus to begin with and a waste of county tax payer money. All because Howard wanted to teach the NPD a lesson.

Cliff Cannon

@I_wonder : I hear you. I also wish we could still have public court marshal's. For there is someone at the sheriff's office in my opinion, who is not fit to wear the uniform. So it would be a great pleasure to stand on the parade grounds and watch the uniform be striped away from this miscreant.

Yet, that is not going to happen, is it ? Further, one must realize that highly competitive people in any venue, are very likely to compete with one another, rather than with their opponents',would you agree ? If so, that means some of what we have seen, in this internecine rivalry has gone on since the dawn of time, true ?

Knowing this doesn't make forgiveness any easier,if say for example, your my buddy Det. Fulton does it ? Still, what choice does anyone have here ?

For do not the times require forgiving men & women of courage,valor & dignity to move forward , not only to " protect & serve " all of us, but to remind us as well " that sincerity is always subject to proof and civility is not a sign of weakness " ( JFK )

So again, I say I am very proud of the " Big 3 " in Huron County law enforcement for having the leadership ability's to take these very necessary steps to move us all forward.


The choice to do the right thing for the right reason was there from the start. Shouldn't we demand that from those sworn to uphold the Constitution and enforce laws?

Their oath of office is pretty clear on how they should act.


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