from the Franklin County Municipal Court M.C. No. 2017 TRC
Zachary M. Klein, City Attorney, Bill R. Hedrick, and Orly
Ahroni, for appellant.
Tyack Law Firm Co., L.PA., Jonathan T Tyack, and Holly B.
Cline, for appellee.
Jonathan T Tyack.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, City of Columbus, appeals
from an entry of the Franklin County Municipal Court granting
the motion to suppress of defendant-appellee, Scott E.
Cochran, and ordering the dismissal of the matter. For the
following reasons, we reverse.
Facts and Procedural History
2} On September 20, 2017, the city issued a citation
to Cochran for one count of operating a vehicle under the
influence of alcohol ("OVI") in violation of
Columbus City Code ("C.C.C.") 2133.01(A)(1)(a); and
one count operating a vehicle with a high prohibited alcohol
concentration in violation of C.C.C. 2133.01(A)(1)(h).
Cochran entered a plea of not guilty. Subsequently, on
December 11, 2017, Cochran filed a motion to suppress the
evidence obtained from his warrantless stop and subsequent
3} The trial court conducted a hearing on
Cochran's motion to suppress on May 14, 2018. At the
suppression hearing, the three officers who responded to the
scene testified. Additionally, all three officers wore body
cameras during their interactions with Cochran, and the trial
court admitted into evidence the videos from the body
4} Scott Wright, an officer with the Columbus
Division of Police, testified that at approximately 4:38 p.m.
on September 20, 2017, he responded to a dispatch at The City
Dog, a dog daycare center, where someone called police
reporting concern for a customer who had come to pick up his
dog. The call to officers came in as a possible "medical
or OVI." (Tr. at 16.) When they arrived at the scene,
both Officer Wright and Officer Kyle Cull had pulled their
cruisers behind Cochran's vehicle and blocked his vehicle
in the parking space. Officer Wright explained this was a
common practice upon receiving a call about a possible
medical issue or OVI to block a vehicle in until it is
determined the occupant is safe to drive and will not be a
danger to themselves or the public. Officers Wright and Cull
then encountered Cochran "slumped over the wheel of his
car in the parking lot." (Tr. at 34.) The car's
windows were cracked open, the car key was in the ignition,
and a dog was seated in the front passenger seat.
5} Upon approaching the passenger side of the
vehicle, Officer Wright began speaking to Cochran through the
car window. Cochran told Officer Wright he had just picked up
his dog and was taking a nap. Officer Wright told Cochran
that the police received calls from concerned citizens
worried that Cochran was not feeling well or was having a
medical issue, and he asked Cochran if he would step out of
his car so they could make sure he was okay. Cochran refused
to exit his vehicle. While standing at the passenger window,
Officer Wright observed Cochran sweating and his dog panting
heavily. Officer Wright described Cochran as having "a
look on his face of kind of being tired and almost
distraught" and seemed "not with it." (Tr. at
6} When medics arrived on the scene, Cochran
remained in his vehicle and rolled the driver's side
window down farther to speak with the medics. After medics
tested Cochran's blood sugar for possible diabetic issues
and checked his blood pressure, the medics informed the
officers that "there was nothing wrong with Mr. Cochran
medically and they were going to leave." (Tr. at 17.)
Officer Cull testified that he suspected Cochran was
intoxicated. Additionally, Officer Cull testified that
Cochran had glassy eyes, slow speech, and delayed reactions
when speaking with the officers.
7} Once the medics left, Officer Cull went inside
The City Dog to speak with the witness who had initially
called police. That woman told Officer Cull that Cochran laid
on the ground with his dog when he came inside. She further
said Cochran fumbled with the door as he exited The City Dog,
and then she saw him get into his car and lie down in the
8} Officer Wright testified that when the medics
left, he moved around to the driver's side window to
continue speaking to Cochran. From that vantage point,
Officer Wright said he observed that Cochran had glassy eyes
and slurred speech. Officer Wright said Cochran was generally
uncooperative and kept insisting that he was not driving but
just wanted to sit in his car for a couple of hours until
somebody could come get him. From the driver's side
window, Officer Wright testified he could see a half-full
bottle of liquor on the ...