FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE STOW MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2016 TRC 08790
KRISTOPHER K. HILL and THOMAS J. DEBACCO, Attorneys at Law,
V. GUIDETTI, Law Director, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL JUDGE
Eric Cutlip appeals his convictions for operating a vehicle
under the influence and failure to stop after an accident in
the Stow Municipal Court. For the following reasons, this
Court affirms in part and reverses in part.
On the evening of June 16, 2016, Mr. Cutlip lost control of
his vehicle, drove off the road, and crashed into a mailbox
before landing upside down in a ditch. He crawled out of the
vehicle and went into the nearby woods, returning to the
scene about 50 minutes later. By then, emergency personnel
had arrived. After Mr. Cutlip identified himself as the
driver of the vehicle, Officer Michael Plesz arrested him for
failure to stop after an accident. Back at the police
station, the officer had Mr. Cutlip perform field sobriety
tests. Following those tests, Officer Plesz also charged Mr.
Cutlip with operating a vehicle under the influence.
Mr. Cutlip moved to suppress the evidence against him,
arguing that Officer Plesz did not have probable cause to
arrest him because the accident did not occur on a public
road. He also argued that the field sobriety tests were not
conducted in substantial compliance with national standards.
Following a hearing, the municipal court denied his motion. A
jury found him guilty of the offenses, and the court
sentenced him to 180 days in jail. Mr. Cutlip has appealed,
assigning two errors.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS, AS THERE WAS NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST APPELLANT
WITH A VIOLATION OF MACEDONIA ORDINANCE 335.12. ALL EVIDENCE
AND CHARGES OBTAINED, AFTER THE INITIAL ARREST, ARE FRUIT OF
THE POISONOUS TREE.
Mr. Cutlip argues that the court incorrectly denied his
motion to suppress. A motion to suppress presents a mixed
question of law and fact:
When considering a motion to suppress, the trial court
assumes the role of trier of fact and is therefore in the
best position to resolve factual questions and evaluate the
credibility of witnesses. Consequently, an appellate court
must accept the trial court's findings of fact if they
are supported by competent, credible evidence. Accepting
these facts as true, the appellate court must then
independently determine, without deference to the conclusion
of the trial court, whether the facts satisfy the applicable
citations omitted.) State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio