Denying Motion to Suppress Was Error


This case began in July 2010 when the New Philadelphia Police Department (NPPD) received a report that someone may have been trying to open the doors of cars parked outside a residence. When an officer arrived at the scene, he noticed a car speeding away from the area where the suspicious activity took place. He decided to pursue and stop the vehicle to identify the driver, and ascertain whether or not he may have been involved. The officer noted that the driver smelled strongly of alcohol, that his eyes were bloodshot and that there were open containers of beer in the back of the car. The officer decided to investigate the matter further, because he became suspicious after the driver admitted he was on his way home, but was in fact driving in the opposite direction of his home.

After taking various field sobriety tests, he was arrested and then asked to submit to a breath test. His blood alcohol content was measured at .193 percent. The driver was also tied to calls of erratic driving the NPPD received earlier that same day. The defendant appealed his conviction on this assignment of error: that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress. In this OVI prosecution, it was error to deny motion to suppress since officer did not have reasonable articulable suspicion to stop defendant's vehicle where stop was prompted by complaint that people were breaking into cars, but officer did not see defendant commit any offense.