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State v. Holbrook

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

May 8, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
BRYAN HOLBROOK Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Licking County Municipal Court, Case No 16-TRC-2369.

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: DOUGLAS SASSEN, NEWARK CITY LAW DIRECTOR, TRICIA MOORE.

          For Defendant-Appellant: SAMUEL H. SHAMANSKY, COLIN E. PETERS.

          Hon Patricia A Delaney, P.J., Hon W Scott Gwin, J., Hon William B Hoffman, J.

          OPINION

          DELANEY, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant Bryan Holbrook appeals from the July 28, 2015 Judgment of Conviction of the Licking County Municipal Court. Appellee is the state of Ohio.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} The following facts are adduced from the record of appellant's jury trial before the Licking County Municipal Court. Appellee introduced a video of the traffic stop as State's Exhibit 1.

         {¶3} This case arose on March 20, 2016 around 2:30 a.m. in Union Township, Delaware County when Trooper Jarrod Myers of the Ohio State Highway Patrol observed a blue Ford Explorer drifting in its lane. Myers described the vehicle as "bouncing back and forth" in the lane. He pulled up for a closer look while the vehicle was still in a 35-mile-per-hour zone and observed three distinct lane violation clues in which the Explorer touched the yellow center line.

         {¶4} As the Explorer entered a 55-mile-per-hour zone, it sped up to 65 miles per hour. Myers activated his radar and paced the vehicle at 66 miles per hour for one mile. During this time the Explorer continued to drift in its lane, touching the center line and the fog line multiple times. Myers observed a distinct left-of-center violation just past Canal Road and initiated a traffic stop. The Explorer continued a short distance before stopping, longer than average in Myers' estimation.

         {¶5} Myers radioed dispatch to advise of the stop and approached the Explorer on the driver's side. He identified appellant as the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. Appellant's window was down upon Myers' approach and the trooper noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle. Myers asked appellant why he was speeding and appellant apologized. Myers requested his operator's license, registration, and proof of insurance; appellant produced those items and a police I.D. card. Myers asked appellant how much he had to drink and appellant responded a "few beers." Appellant's eyes were bloodshot and glassy. Myers asked when he last had something to drink and appellant did not answer. Myers apologized and told appellant he would have to ask him to exit the vehicle to be "checked." Myers testified he felt uncomfortable because appellant had shown the police I.D. and Myers was aware he was investigating a police officer.[1] However, based upon the clues he had already observed, Myers felt he had no choice but to investigate further.

         {¶6} Appellant took longer than average to exit the vehicle and "just sat there" for a few moments.

         {¶7} Myers proceeded to administer a series of standardized field sobriety tests, beginning with the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (H.G.N.). Appellant had difficulty following the stimulus and kept moving his head, requiring Myers to restart portions of the test. Myers observed a lack of smooth pursuit in each eye, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation, and onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees. In other words, Myers noted six out of a possible six clues of impairment.

         {¶8} Myers moved on to administer the walk-and-turn test; appellant moved his feet to keep balance. After Myers' instructions and demonstration of the test were complete, appellant paused and stated he didn't want to complete the test. Myers decided not to offer the one-leg stand test. Instead, he asked appellant to complete a divided attention test by stating the alphabet from D to W. Appellant said D, D, F, G, H, and then A to ...


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