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Suburban Columbus high school coach pleads guilty to OVI

A guilty plea has been entered. The sentencing is apparently yet to come later. But the consequences of a drunk driving conviction are already being felt by a suburban Columbus man.

According to news reports, the defendant appeared in Fairfield County Municipal Court last month and pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police allege that he swerved over the center line and sideswiped an oncoming vehicle. No one suffered injury as a result.


Earlier reports about the man's arrest said he had also been charged with failing to control after a crash, but that allegation was apparently dropped, perhaps as part of a plea negotiation. If that was the case, it suggests that the defendant took the wise step of being represented by an attorney.

The crime for which he did plead guilty is a first-degree misdemeanor. That means he could receive up to six months in jail. Pending his sentencing, the man is free on his own recognizance but his driving rights have been restricted. He is allowed to drive to and from his work, which happens to be coaching a girl's high school basketball team.

But there are questions about what effect his OVI conviction might have on his future. The superintendent for the school district says an investigation will be conducted and disciplinary action may follow. At the time this post is written, it's not clear if any action has been taken.

One factor that may also become important in this matter is that in 2002, the coach was disciplined for having been drunk in front of players. He was suspended for four games at that time.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Pickerington North girls basketball coach charged with drunken driving," Mary Beth Lane, Sept. 17, 2014 

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