COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)— Authorities in central Ohio say a state trooper and two sheriff’s deputies are facing charges linked to the death of an allegedly drunk man they dropped off at a fast-food restaurant.
Two Delaware County deputies and an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper have been cited for a misdemeanor count, of failing to prevent an offense or apprehend an offender, in connection with the July 28 death.
Sheriff’s deputies Derek Beggs, 29, and Christopher Hughes, 22, had said they found 22-year-old Uriel Juarez Popoca intoxicated, sitting in his truck in a median area on Interstate 71. Trooper Sean Carpenter, 37, arrived at the scene after the deputies.
Police say the deputies took the Mexico-born man, who spoke little English, to a Taco Bell restaurant, expecting him to call for a ride home. A police cruiser video recording indicates that the deputies didn’t think they could arrest him for driving while intoxicated because he wasn’t driving when they found him.
About an hour later, the man was hit fatally by a car while walking along a road.
The Delaware County sheriff has told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/U5MlVe ) that the officers could have arrested the man without seeing him driving.
“You can make an arrest based upon other factors,” Sheriff Russell Martin said. “….that someone was behind the wheel, that person had control of the vehicle, keys in the ignition.”
A sheriff’s spokeswoman said Beggs and Hughes are on paid leave. The Highway Patrol said Carpenter is restricted to administrative duties at district headquarters in Columbus as investigation continues.
Charges were filed Friday. Court records weren’t available Saturday, but the three officers are scheduled to be in Delaware County Municipal Court on Sept. 26.
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