Citizen report leads to OVI/drug arrest

On June 17, Genoa Township Police Chief Steve Gammill posted a thank-you note on the department’s Facebook page for an alert motorist who had called in about an erratic driver, and then followed the driver and gave an officer directions.

“Officer (Darren) Hutchinson caught up to the driver, observed him almost hit a car head-on, and stopped him on Sunbury Road,” Gammill wrote in the Facebook post. “The driver was clearly under the influence of drugs and it appears he was smoking heroin while he was driving.”

Arrested was 33-year-old Nicholas James Salter of Columbus. Salter was charged with driving left of center, drug possession, OVI (operating a vehicle while impaired), and driving under suspension.

Gammill said the motorist who called about the erratic driver very likely prevented a serious accident.

The woman who called in about the erratic driver responded to Gammill’s post, thanking Genoa police for following up on the call.

“I’ve called before (in the Newark area) and continued to follow the motorist and nothing ever happened,” she wrote.

Genoa Township Police Sgt. Rich Lyon said it’s important that citizens notify police when they see erratic drivers or suspicious behavior.

“We treat every call seriously,” Lyon said. “Effective law enforcement is a community effort. If anyone feels the need to call because of a situation that disturbs them, call. Don’t delay.”

Lyon said drugs were found when the car was impounded and went through an administrative inventory. The heroin possession is a felony that would likely go to a grand jury.

“In this case, we’re just glad no one was hurt,” Lyon said. “That’s always a possibility when somebody is driving erratically in a 2,000-pound vehicle.”

Lyon said motorists who suspect another driver is impaired should call 1-800-GRAB-DUI (1-800-4722-384) or 911. Call 911 to report other suspicious activity, he said.