from Lima Municipal Court Trial Court No. 18TRC1835-B4
Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant
R. Bradley for Appellee
Defendant-appellant, Mason Godfrey ("Godfrey"),
brings this appeal from the May 3, 2019, judgment of the Lima
Municipal Court sentencing him to 60 days in jail, with 50
suspended on various conditions, after Godfrey pled no
contest to, and was convicted of, OVI in violation of R.C.
4511.19(A)(1)(h). On appeal, Godfrey argues that the trial
court erred by overruling his suppression motion.
On October 27, 2018, shortly after 2 a.m., multiple Lima
Police Officers were dispatched to a bar called Harry's
Hideaway on Cable Road in Lima for reports of a fight.
Officer Kaitlyn Weidman and Officer Ben Thompson went into
the bar where there were over 100 people and completed a
walkthrough looking for the problem. While in the bar, both
officers observed Godfrey. Officer Thompson indicated that
Godfrey had slurred speech, that he was "falling all
over the place," that he had bloodshot, glassy eyes, and
that he was "arguing with a female over car keys."
(Tr. at 7). Officer Weidman also observed Godfrey arguing
with a female over the keys to a vehicle. Officer Weidman
described him as "highly intoxicated at that time."
(Id. at 12). More specifically, Officer Weidman
stated that Godfrey smelled like alcohol and that his speech
was very slurred.
Minutes later, Officer Thompson was outside speaking with the
bar's bouncer when he observed Godfrey get into the
driver's side of a vehicle. Officer Thompson radioed
Officer Weidman and told her to pull Godfrey over if he
failed to stop at the "sidewalk." Officer Weidman
observed Godfrey leaving and pull onto the road. She stated
that she felt Godfrey failed to yield when he entered Cable
Road, then she pulled him over both for that failure to yield
and for the observations of his intoxication inside the bar.
As a result of the traffic stop, Godfrey's BAC was taken
by a breath test and his BAC was .171. Subsequently Godfrey
was charged with OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a),
and alternatively OVI in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(h).
He was also charged with Driving Under Suspension in
violation of Lima City Ordinance 436.11(a), and Failure to
Yield in violation of Lima City Ordinance 432.22(a)(1).
Godfrey initially pled not guilty to the charges.
On December 10, 2018, Godfrey filed a suppression motion.
That motion was supplemented on January 7, 2019, once Godfrey
received dash camera video from the incident. In his motion,
Godfrey argued that there was no legal basis to stop him for
a "Failure to Yield" violation based on Lima City
Ordinance 432.22(a)(1). More specifically, he argued,
Mr. Godfrey is seen clearly pulling up to one of the exits
between Bob Evans and Harry's Hideaway on Cable Road just
north of the intersection at that location. At the time, he
turned right onto Cable. To his immediate left were several
cruisers stopped to attend to another driver, with a red
light for north-bound traffic. Therefore, not only was there
no impacted traffic at all, no impact on traffic was even
possible because all traffic northbound was blocked and
stopped by both LPD cruisers and a red light.
One of the officers can be heard on Kaitlyn Weidman's
radio telling her that she could stop Mr. Godfrey if he did
not stop at the sidewalk. If there was a sidewalk, then a
stop would be required. However, there clearly is no sidewalk
at this location.
Thus, the purported basis for the stop, namely a violation of