Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Fairfield
from the Fairfield County Municipal Court, Case No. TRC 17
Plaintiff-Appellant: MITCHELL R. HARDEN LANCASTER LAW
Defendant-Appellee: RICHARD A.L. PIATT
W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Earle
E. Wise, Jr., J.
Appellant state of Ohio appeals from the August 30, 2017
Entry of the Fairfield County Municipal Court sustaining the
motion to suppress of appellee Corey K. Macklin.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The following facts are adduced from the record of the
suppression hearing on July 28, 2017. Prior to the
suppression hearing, the parties stipulated the issues to be
heard were "simply reasonable suspicion and probable
cause to arrest." T. 5.
This case arose on April 3, 2017, around 4:10 a.m., when Sgt.
Jason Bontrager of the Pickerington Police Department was on
routine patrol on State Route 256 at 695 Hill Road North in
Fairfield County. Bontrager observed a car in a parking-lot
driveway with a female standing nearby. Bontrager observed
that the vehicle had heavy front-end damage and stopped to
ask the driver, identified as appellee, whether she had been
in an accident. Appellee replied that she thought she had a
Bontrager believed the damage to be worse than a broken axle
and asked appellee what caused the vehicle's airbags to
deploy. Appellee responded that she thought she might have
fallen asleep at the wheel. Appellee was wearing slippers and
what Bontrager described as "bed clothes." She said
she had been working at Tim Hortons and hadn't had any
sleep, and she may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Bontrager observed tire marks going off the roadway "to
the side over by a creek." Bontrager realized he was
investigating a crash and not merely a disabled vehicle. He
found appellee's attitude to be "odd" because
she was "nonchalant," "not really
caring," and "laissez-faire" despite the fact
that her vehicle apparently drove through a creek.
Bontrager did not smell any odor of alcohol. He noted
appellee's eyes were "droopy" and her pupils
were dilated; at times she slurred her speech. He asked where
appellee was coming from and she said she had worked at Tim
Hortons and was tired because she hadn't slept. Bontrager
asked if appellee had smoked marijuana recently but she said
she had not "for a day or so." T. 14. Appellee
denied having any head injuries and refused medical
After describing the circumstances above, appellant attempted
to question Bontrager about the administration of
standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). We note portions
of the record are unintelligible and therefore not
transcribed. Bontrager testified he was originally trained on
the 2013 version of the NHTSA manual but not, apparently, the
version of the manual the prosecutor tried to question him
about. Appellee objected and the trial court ruled Bontrager
could not testify as an expert about the SFSTs. Instead, he
could testify to his general "observations."
Bontrager then testified appellee swayed back and forth and
couldn't keep her balance.
Bontrager arrested appellee based upon the evidence of her
dilated pupils, droopy eyes, slurred speech, impaired
movement, and "carefree attitude" about a serious
crash, combined with the fact that the vehicle had gone off
After appellee was arrested, a marijuana pipe was found in
her pocket and a vehicle inventory turned up baggies
On August 30, 2017, via Entry, the trial court sustained
appellee's motion to ...