July 25, 2016

Mostly clear

Traffic stop of investigator is deemed reasonable

A visiting judge Thursday ruled police had probable cause to pull over and arrest a Medina County Prosecutor’s Office criminal investigator on drunken-driving charges.

Fred Wolk, 59, of Medina, faces a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Wolk has been an investigator for the prosecutor’s office since April 2012.

Wolk and his attorney, David Sheldon, argued in a motion to suppress evidence that Medina County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Schmoll did not have reasonable suspicion to perform a traffic stop.

But Schmoll testified he saw Wolk’s vehicle drive left of center on Ridgewood Road in Montville Township just after midnight on June 13, and saw the vehicle weave within its lane.

“Schmoll then observed the defendant stop at River Styx Road and make a wide right turn onto River Styx,” wrote visiting Judge Michael McNulty, who’s hearing the case because Medina Municipal Judge Dale H. Chase recused himself. “The defendant’s vehicle went left of center on River Styx when turning.”

McNulty ruled: “Based on the foregoing, Sgt. Schmoll did have a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity. The court finds that Sgt. Schmoll had probable cause to make a warrantless arrest.”

Schmoll’s cruiser camera did not pick up either alleged violation.

McNulty noted that, “upon approaching the defendant, the sergeant observed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the defendant’s car. He also observed the defendant’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy.”

Schmoll said Wolk admitted he’d had a couple of drinks and stumbled when asked to leave the vehicle.

Wolk refused to perform field-sobriety tests and refused to take an alcohol breath test, according to reports. As a result, his driver’s license automatically was suspended.

McNulty denied Wolk’s motion for suppression.

McNulty also has denied an appeal to reinstate Wolk’s driver’s license.

County Prosecutor Dean Holman said in June that Wolk has been on voluntary, unpaid leave since his arrest. Holman said he would make personnel decisions regarding Wolk once the case is wrapped up.

According to Wolk’s profile on the LinkedIn.com resume website, he has been a law enforcement training director for the Ohio attorney general, director of the county Drug Task Force, a sheriff’s detective and a police officer.

He’s worked in Medina County since 1979.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.