FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT
COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2018 TR-C 005082
C. KNOWLTON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and ANDREA D. UHLER, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Appellant, Lester Hostetler, appeals an order of the Wayne
County Municipal Court that denied his motion to suppress.
This Court affirms.
On May 27, 2018, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Trooper Richard
Ondick observed a truck driving north on Hillcrest Drive in
Wayne County. The truck made a left turn onto County Road 30A
without signaling, crossing over the turn lane on County Road
30A in the process. Trooper Ondick activated his lights as he
drove westbound on County Road 30A behind the truck, but the
driver turned into a residential area without pulling over.
Trooper Ondick activated his spotlight, then his siren, but
the driver still did not pull over. Approximately thirty
seconds after Trooper Ondick activated his lights, the driver
pulled into the driveway of a residence and stopped.
When Trooper Ondick approached the driver, Mr. Hostetler, he
observed, among other things, the overwhelming odor of an
alcoholic beverage. He detained Mr. Hostetler to perform the
horizontal gaze nystagmus ("HGN") test, then
arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of
alcohol. Mr. Hostetler was charged with operating a motor
vehicle under the influence of alcohol in violation of R.C.
4511.19(A)(1)(a), operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited
concentration of alcohol per liter of breath in violation of
R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h), and two traffic violations. Mr.
Hostetler moved to suppress all of the evidence gained as a
result of the traffic stop, arguing that Trooper Ondick
arrested him without probable cause when he placed him in
handcuffs prior to administering the HGN test. In the
alternative, Mr. Hostetler argued that Trooper Ondick did not
administer the HGN test in substantial compliance with the
National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration
("NHTSA") guidelines. He maintained that without
those test results, Trooper Ondick lacked probable cause to
arrest him after the HGN test was completed.
The trial court concluded that Trooper Ondick did not place
Mr. Hostetler under arrest until after the HGN test was
administered. The trial court agreed that the HGN test was
not administered in substantial compliance with the NHTSA
guidelines and declined to consider the results of the HGN
test when evaluating whether Trooper Ondick had probable
cause to arrest Mr. Hostetler. Nonetheless, the trial court
denied the motion to suppress, concluding that when all of
Trooper Ondick's observations were considered, he had
probable cause for the arrest.
Mr. Hostetler entered a plea of no contest. The trial court
found him guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the
influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle with a
prohibited concentration of alcohol per liter of breath,
dismissed the two traffic violations, fined
Hostetler $750.00, and suspended his driver's license for
eighteen months. Mr. Hostetler filed this appeal.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS, AS THE COURT'S DECISION IS ...