Cincinnati, OH- Two Cincinnati officers have been accused of covering up a drunken driving accident caused by a fellow officer who was off-duty at the time.
The incident occurred in May of this year, but came back to the forefront after 911 tapes were released earlier this month in which a witness repeatedly tells the operator that the driver was drunk.
On March 22nd, Sargent Andrew Mitchell crashed into a light pole. A witness to the accident called 911 telling operator that the man driving the van was drunk, but responding officers didn’t treat the accident as if it were a drunken driving accident, and actually went to lengths to keep protect the responsible driver who turned out to be a fellow Cincinnati police officer, WKRC Local 12 reports.
According to the then allegations, when police officer Jason Cotterman and Sergeant Richard Sulfsted arrived on the scene, they failed to investigate whether Sargent Mitchell was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The two officers are also accused of trying to hide him from witnesses and arranging a ride home for their allegedly intoxicated peer.
Now, a few months after the cover-up, audio from a 911 call about the accident has been released and the caller paints a vivid picture of how intoxicated Sargent Mitchell
“He is drunk as hell ma’am! He is drunk as hell! He just got out of the car. I am standing right here by him and I am, am about to hop out. His bag busted open, both of them busted open. He is the only driver,” the man making the 911 call says, according to WKRC.
In spite of the eyewitness accounts, Mitchell was able to avoid DUI charges and is facing one count of reckless driving and operating without reasonable control, according to Cincinnati.com.
Cotterman and Suflsted have been charged with obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty. Both men were suspended as the allegations are being investigated, but still works for the Cincinnati Police Department but not in a policing capacity, WKRC reported.
Most OVI drivers aren’t as lucky as Sargent Mitchell and they will soon learn how many legal consequences that one mistake can have. Most police officers take drunken driving seriously, even when a peer is involved, and a conviction can result in immediate and long-term consequences. Before you make any decisions about how to approach your plea and defense, we at USAttorneys urge you to contact an OVI/DUI attorney in Cincinnati to discuss the details of your arrest and the best defense strategy to follow in your case. ‘
USAttorneys’ team of OVI/DUI attorneys in Cincinnati and Ohio strive to give you the most effective defense so that you can avoid a conviction and the nasty consequences that are sure to follow. If you want to keep your freedom and minimize the impact of your charges, contact a defense lawyer today and set up a time to discuss your case and how they can help.