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State v. Hostetler

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
LESTER E. HOSTETLER Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2018 TR-C 005082

          DAVID C. KNOWLTON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DANIEL R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and ANDREA D. UHLER, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          CALLAHAN, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Lester Hostetler, appeals an order of the Wayne County Municipal Court that denied his motion to suppress. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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

          Mr. Hostetler $750.00, and suspended his driver's license for eighteen months. Mr. Hostetler filed this appeal.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS, AS THE COURT'S DECISION IS ...

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