July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

One arrest at sobriety checkpoint targeting problem region for drunken driving

MEDINA — An OVI checkpoint Easter weekend yielded only one drunken driving arrest.

The checkpoint, which began at 10 p.m. Friday and lasted three hours, was on U.S. Route 42 (Lafayette Road) just north of Baxter Street.

Medina County OVI Task Force Director Lt. Brian Ohlin, of the Brunswick Police Department, said the site was chosen because records show the area has drunken-driving problems.

“The county task force collects data every month from all agencies and we map it and plot out where OVI arrests and crashes are occurring,” he said. “The 42 corridor in that section of Medina has a higher rate of OVI activity.”

According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, nine crashes related to operating a vehicle impaired occurred there between 2012 and 2013.

Lt. William Haymaker, commander for the Medina post of the patrol, said 168 vehicles went through Friday’s checkpoint and troopers diverted four of them.

Three drivers had an odor of alcohol about them, he said, but none were charged with OVI.

The checkpoint was supported by patrols in the area from the task force and Medina police. Those officers stopped 32 vehicles and netted the evening’s lone OVI arrest.

Ryan Stachowski, 27, of the 400 block of Ridge Drive, was charged with OVI after registering blood-alcohol content of 0.182. The state’s legal limit is 0.08.

Ohlin said officials believe their enforcement efforts are working and discouraging residents from driving drunk.

“Our feelings were that last year overall, total OVI-related crashes were down, and we do feel the additional presence of law enforcement and doing checkpoints has made an impact,” he said.

But Ohlin said no system is perfect and that’s why police conduct the checkpoints and saturation patrols.

“It does tend to be the saturation patrols that yield more arrests than the checkpoints, but it’s a two-pronged approach,” he said. “We’re not going to do one without the other.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.