appeal from the Holmes County Court, Case No. 16CRB-294AB
Plaintiff-Appellee SEAN WARNER Holmes County Prosecutor
Defendant-Appellant DAVID HUNTER
Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. William
B. Hoffman, J.
Appellant Roy H. Mast ["Mast"] appeals his
conviction and sentence on one count of Misconduct at an
Emergency after a bench trial in the Holmes County Court.
and Procedural History
Members of the Richland Township Fire Department responded to
a fire at the Yoder farm on August 19, 2016. The fire belched
out "heavy black smoke" and could be seen from a
mile and a quarter away. The first to arrive at the fire was
Fire Chief Melissa McCartney-Wells. Chief Wells began to
assess and document the fire as she waited for the arrival of
firefighting equipment. Chief Wells observed burning in the
fire, tires, plastic and other trash. The heavy black smoke
is indicative of such petroleum products including plastic
and rubber burning.
The fire was burning in the farmyard near a barn and a formal
manure pit structure. The area is bordered by a cement drive
or "alleyway." Assistant Chief Jeff Wells arrived
driving the department's grass truck with firefighter
Ballantyne. He parked the truck on the cement alleyway. The
grass truck's equipment includes a two hundred gallon
tank of water, heavy fire hoses and a pump to force the
water. Firefighter Ballantyne was assigned to "pump
operator." Ballantyne's job as the truck or pump
operator is important as she needs to make sure the pump
stays running, and water pressure is maintained or changed if
needed to fight the fire. In case something goes
wrong..." she is "...kind of a safety
officer." The chief and assistant chief were operating
The firefighters were on scene for fifteen to twenty minutes
actively engaged in fire suppression. At that time, Mast
drove a skid loader passed one fire truck and up the cement
alleyway. The skid loader approached the back of the grass
truck. Firefighter Ballantyne stepped away from her post at
the back of the truck, raised her right hand, and yelled at
Mast to stop. Firefighter Ballantyne was also making a stop
gesture with her right hand. Mast did not stop. Firefighter
Ballantyne yelled and gestures again. At this point, she had
to take her attention away from her firefighters and the
pumps to concentrate on Mast and the skid loader. Mast leaned
out of the skid loader and yelled at the firefighter
"move that piece of shit or he would move it for
you." Ballantyne again told Mast to stop and leave the
area. Mast began to inch the skid loader forward repeatedly
stopping and going. Firefighter Ballantyne left her post,
"because I thought he was going to run over me."
(T. 54). Ballantyne continued to yell. Finally, Mast backed
up the skid loader, lowered his bucket again and began
approaching the fire truck. Ballantyne yelled at Mast,
"Don't threaten me with that. I will call the law
and have your ass arrested." (T. 56). Mast repeated his
moves with the skid loader which caused firefighter
Ballantyne to feel threatened. The encounter lasted "5
to 10 minutes." (T. 63).
Concerned for her firefighters' safety, Chief Wells
yelled to firefighter Ballantyne to get away from the truck.
The Chief then left her post on the fire hose to aide
Ballantyne. As Chief Wells walked through the muck she saw
"[Mast] put the (unintelligible) down and starts inching
towards the fire truck and towards firefighter Ballantyne and
it was a stop, go, stop, go, stop, go and he starts lifting
the bucket again." (T. 82).
Mast is a worker on the Yoder farm. Mast admitted telling the
firefighters to move "that piece of shit"; however,
he denied he threatened the firefighters. Mast believed that
the firefighters were upset because they had been to the
Yoder farm several times to extinguish illegal burns. Mast
claimed the encounter lasted no more than thirty seconds. (T.
at 125). Mast admitted that he hid and did not respond when
the police came to his trailer to question him about the
Mast was charged with Misconduct at an Emergency in violation
of R.C. 2917.13 and Disorderly Conduct in violation of R.C.
2917.11. The matter proceeded to a bench trial. Mast was
found guilty by the court of both counts. The court found
that the chargers merged as they were the result of the same
conduct and Mast was sentenced on the Misconduct at an
Emergency charge to 30 days in jail and a $250.00 fine.