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State v. Decaro

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Geauga

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSEPH P. DECARO, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Chardon Municipal Court, Case No. 2018 TRD 02610.

         Judgment: Affirmed.

          Dennis M. Coyne, For Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Kimberly Kendall Corral, For Defendant-Appellant.

          OPINION

          MATT LYNCH, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Joseph P. DeCaro, appeals his conviction for violating R.C. 4511.39 ("Use of signals for stopping, turning, decreasing speed, moving left or right; limitations") following a bench trial in the Chardon Municipal Court.

         {¶2} On May 17, 2018, DeCaro was issued a citation for Turn Signal Violations, a minor misdemeanor in violation of R.C. 4511.39.

         {¶3} On May 29, 2018, DeCaro entered a plea of "not guilty."

         {¶4} On August 15, 2018, trial was held at which the following testimony was presented:

         {¶5} Kelley A. Vanek testified that, on May 17, 2018, at about 8:30 a.m., she was operating her vehicle northbound on Munn Road. After crossing the bridge over U.S. 422, she noticed a slow-moving white van:

As I approached it, I saw that the van pulled into the berm [the right tires were over the white line], and so I made the move to pass on the left. And as I started to cross the line, which it was a split yellow line, * * * the van turned left in front of me, and I was astounded, * * * so I turned hard left and aimed for the field, and I hit a mailbox instead. And then Mr. DeCaro hit me and turned me on my side and I rode [into] the ditch * * * I did not see a turn signal at any time. He did pull over into the berm, no turn signal, so I assumed * * * that he was pulling over so that I could pass.

         {¶6} Vanek estimated that she was thirty to forty feet behind DeCaro's van when she initiated the lane change. She slowed down as she approached his vehicle and then accelerated to pass and was travelling "thirty [m.p.h.] or less" when she decided to pass.

         {¶7} As a result of the accident, Vanek pled "no contest" to a charge of violating R.C. 4511.27 ("Rules governing overtaking and passing of vehicles") as she did not signal that she would be passing. Photographs depicting the damage of Vanek's vehicle were introduced into evidence.

         {¶8} Trooper Steven D. Jefferies of the State Highway Patrol issued the citation to DeCaro for violating R.C. 4511.39. He explained his decision to issue the citation, based ...


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