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State of Ohio v. Frank Quinonez

September 8, 2011

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
FRANK QUINONEZ DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-468743

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Larry A. Jones, J.:

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

JUDGMENT:

AFFIRMED

BEFORE: Jones, J., Sweeney, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Frank Quinonez, appeals his convictions for failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and vandalism. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Procedural History and Facts

{¶2} In 2005, Quinonez was charged in Case No. CR-468743 with felonious assault, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, and vandalism. He was charged in a separate but related case, Case No. CR-469210, with aggravated robbery, assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and passing a bad check. Quinonez failed to appear at his arraignment and the court issued a capias for his arrest. Quinonez was apprehended and arraigned in December 2008.

{¶3} In August 2010, a bench trial began in Case No. CR-468743, which is the subject of this appeal. The following pertinent evidence was adduced at trial.

{¶4} On June 23, 2005, officers of the Brecksville Police Department received a bulletin to be on the lookout for a 2006 Mercedes Benz CLS500 that had been stolen from a car dealership in North Olmsted. The information the police received was that a man, later identified as Quinonez, had stolen the car off the dealership's lot after trying to buy it with a counterfeit check.

{¶5} Brecksville Police Department corrections officer John Zipay testified he first spotted Quinonez traveling eastbound on Route 82. He stated he got a good look at the driver and was able to identify Quinonez in court. Because Zipay was not a police officer at the time, he did not try to pull the car over but rather followed it until the police arrived on the scene. Officer Ken Septaric was the first officer to join the pursuit. During the chase, Officer Septaric was able to pull his zone car in front of Quinonez. Officer Christopher Grimm drove his zone car behind Quinonez, in an attempt to box the car in on a bridge. Quinonez drove off, hitting both Officer Septaric's zone car and a minivan. The minivan was driven by a mother who had her two young children inside and the crash caused $4,000 worth of damage to her car. Septaric's zone car was also disabled by the collision.

{¶6} Officer Grimm followed Quinonez for approximately one mile. Quinonez reached speeds greater than 90 m.p.h. and the officer abandoned his pursuit of the stolen car, citing safety reasons.

{¶7} Quinonez continued driving eastbound on Route 82 and ended up driving southbound on Interstate 77. Sergeant Bruce Lowery of the Tuscarawas Sheriff's

Department testified that he received a bulletin and began to follow Quinonez on the highway. He chased Quinonez for approximately an hour before an officer from Holmes County was able to run the stolen car into a ditch, and then detain and arrest Quinonez. Sargeant Lowery also identified Quinonez as the driver of the stolen Mercedes.

{¶8} The trial court convicted Quinonez of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and vandalism, but acquitted him of felonious assault.

{¶9} The trial court sentenced Quinonez to five years for failure to comply and 18 months for vandalism, to be served consecutively to each other and to a nine-year sentence imposed in Case No. CR-469210. Quinonez's conviction in Case No. CR-469210 was recently affirmed on appeal. State v. Quinonez, Cuyahoga App. No. 95783, 2011-Ohio-3064.

{¶10} Quinonez now appeals his convictions for failure to comply and vandalism,

raising the following assignments of error for our review:

"I. Appellant's convictions for failure to comply and vandalism are against the manifest ...


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