Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking
from the Licking County Municipal Court, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee: J. MICHAEL KING Assistant Law Director
Defendant-Appellant: KEVIN J. GALL Burkett & Sanderson,
W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. William
B. Hoffman, J.
Appellant Adam Such appeals from the September 5, 2017
Judgment Entry of Conviction of the Licking County Municipal
Court, incorporating the June 27, 2017 Judgment Entry
overruling his motion to suppress. Appellee is the state of
Two appeals, Licking County case numbers 17-CA-77 and
17-CA-78, are hereby consolidated and resolved with the
single opinion infra.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case arose on March 11, 2017, around 4:00 p.m., when
Trooper Vogelmeier of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was
monitoring traffic from a stationary location on Interstate
70 near mile post 132 in Licking County. Vogelmeier has been
a trooper for 5 years and is trained and certified in the
investigation of impaired drivers using standardized field
sobriety tests pursuant to the National Highway Traffic
Administration (NHTSA) Standards and Advanced Roadside
Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). Vogelmeier is
experienced in recognizing and apprehending drivers under the
influence of alcohol and other drugs.
On this date, Vogelmeier watched traffic moving westbound and
checked speed with a laser device. He observed a vehicle
operated by appellant in the right lane. The trooper watched
the vehicle leave its lane by a "substantial
distance;" in addition, the vehicle traveled 52 m.p.h.
in a 70 m.p.h. zone and the passenger was not wearing a seat
Vogelmeier initiated a traffic stop and noted appellant was
slow to pull over. The cruiser camera was activated along
with the lights on the cruiser and the videotape of the stop
was admitted as appellee's Exhibit 1 at the suppression
hearing. The video therefore does not capture the
marked-lanes violation initially observed by Vogelmeier but
does show appellant slowly moving within his lane at a slow
speed and, after a delay, coming to a stop at a rest area.
Vogelmeier approached the vehicle and asked appellant for his
license and insurance. He noted a "very slight
odor" of raw marijuana emanating from inside the
vehicle. The eyes of both appellant and his passenger were
very red and appellant's speech was slow and lethargic.
Vogelmeier told appellant why he was stopped and appellant
said he swerved "to avoid an oversize load, " but
Vogelmeier did not see an oversize load traveling west.
Vogelmeier asked appellant to exit the vehicle based upon the
totality of the circumstances: the marked-lanes violation,
the slow speed, the fact that appellant was slow to stop and
weaved within his lane, the red eyes, and the odor of
marijuana. Vogelmeier placed appellant in the rear of the
cruiser and he sat in the front, writing a seat belt ticket
for the passenger.
Vogelmeier testified that as he sat in the cruiser with
appellant, he weighed whether he would ask appellant to
submit to standardized field sobriety tests and/or search the
vehicle. The latter would require him to request another unit
to the scene and he considered doing so. He testified
appellant was not behaving normally. As he spoke to
appellant, he noticed his eyes were extremely bloodshot. At
first, appellant's tone was "excited" but as
the conversation went on, appellant became unusually
lethargic, to the point that he seemed to be falling asleep
in the back ...