A long-time state trooper has been found guilty of physical control in connection with a drunken-driving incident over the weekend.
Sgt. Tony J. Myers, 47, of Huron, pleaded no contest to physical control Tuesday in Huron Municipal Court, said Julie Ortega, clerk of courts. Judge William Steuk ordered Myers to pay a total of $1,015 in fines and court costs.
Eighty-seven days of a 90-day jail sentence will be suspended on the condition Myers remains a law-abiding citizen for the next two years, Ortega said. The clerk of courts said the remaining three days can be served in the Erie County Jail or Myers can undergo a three-day driver intervention program.
Myers also had his driver's license suspended for one year. However, Ortega said the defendant will have driving privileges for work, including being able to drive as part of his job with the state Highway Patrol. Myers is an assistant post commander in Norwalk.
Originally, Myers was charged with driving under the influence in connection with Huron Police Officer Thomas Sheridan finding a black Toyota car parked in the Shell gas station parking lot while he was on patrol about 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
"The driver and the passenger were slumped over and the driver was also hanging partially out of his open door," Sheridan wrote in his report.
"As I approached the driver's side of the vehicle and while speaking with the subjects, I observed a large amount of vomit all over the inside of the vehicle, along the vehicle's running boards and on the blacktop outside of the vehicle," said Sheridan, who identified the driver as Myers and the passenger as Myers' 42-year-old girlfriend.
When asked how much alcohol he had, Myers said "I've had a lot," according to the report.
Sheridan said he detected "an overwhelming odor of intoxicants" coming from Myers, whose eyes were red and glassy, had slurred speech and was "unsteady on his feet."
Myers said he and his girlfriend were at Main Street Tavern that night "when he decided to drive home," but he "then realized he was too intoxicated to drive, forcing him to stop in the parking lot of the Main Street Shell," according to the officer's report. Main Street Tavern and the gas station are a short distance apart from one another, with a set of railroad tracks in between them.
"You've got me for physical control, but you didn't see me drive," Myers told the officer, referring to a lesser criminal offense than DUI.
Myers, whom police said refused to submit to any sobriety tests, was handcuffed and placed in the back of Sheridan's cruiser. Officer Joseph England assisted at the scene. Police transported Myers' girlfriend to the station to wait for her ride. They were released later to one of Myers' relatives.
"It should be noted that Mr. Myers was very cooperative and polite throughout the arrest process," Sheridan wrote in his report.
The patrol has begun an administrative investigation into the incident, Sgt. Vincent Shirey told the Reflector.
"The Ohio State Highway Patrol took immediate action upon learning of the incident involving Sgt. Myers. (The) OSP takes these allegations seriously and a thorough administrative investigation will be completed," the patrol spokesman said.
"Currently, Sgt. Myers is using his own leave. Once Sgt. Myers obtains occupational driving privileges, through the court, he will begin administrative duties. He will remain on administrative duties until the conclusion of the administrative investigation," Shirey said.
The patrol spokesman was asked what are the possible ramifications or consequences for Myers.
"Sgt. Myers will be placed on administrative duties once he obtains occupational driving privileges through the court. Sgt. Myers is facing penalties, up to and including, termination," Shirey said.
Myers has been a trooper since 1990. In addition to working at the Norwalk post, he has been assigned to the Milan, Sandusky and Swanton posts.