Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking
Criminal appeal from the Licking County Court of Common
Pleas, Case No. 18CR00828
Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle
E. Wise, J.
Defendant-appellant Galen Worstell ["Worstell"]
appeals Judgment of the Licking County Court of Common Pleas
overruling his motion to suppress evidence.
and Procedural History
Worstell was charged with aggravated drug trafficking in
violation of R.C. 2925.11(A)(2)/(C)(1)(d) and aggravated drug
possession in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)/(C)(1)(c). Both
counts alleged that the drug was methamphetamine in amount
more than five times bulk, which made both counts
Worstell filed a motion to suppress, arguing that it was
unconstitutional to stop the vehicle he was riding in and to
continue to detain him after another passenger was found with
to Suppress Hearing.
Deputy Dan Pennington of the Licking County Sheriffs office
testified that on October 3, 2018, he was training a new
deputy, Deputy Delane King. They were in full uniform and
driving a marked cruiser, and they were engaged in traffic
enforcement. Deputy King was driving and Deputy Pennington
was in the passenger seat.
At around 7:42 p.m., they were stopped in an abandoned lot
along Lancaster Road across the street from a Pilot gas
station. They saw a 2000 Plymouth Voyager minivan drive past
on Lancaster Road and travel left of center. The traffic
violation was not captured on the cruiser dash cam.
Deputy Pennington explained that they followed the minivan
for a while in order to run the tags. When the tags came back
as expired and the registered owner as having an expired
license, they decided to stop the minivan. He then activated
the cruiser's dash camera video recording system. (T. at
After stopping the minivan, Deputy King approached the driver
side, while Deputy Pennington approached the passenger side.
Deputy Pennington spoke with the occupants and informed the
driver of why he was being stopped. Deputy Pennington
requested identification from all the occupants. The driver
was Jeremiah Horton, the front seat passenger was Jason
Adams, and the middle seat row passenger was Worstell. The
driver admitted that the van had been pulling to the left.
Adams did not have his identification with him, so he
provided a social security number. While Adams was talking,
Deputy Pennington suspected that he had something in his
mouth because it sounded like he was choking. Deputy
Pennington asked Adams to remove the item from his mouth and