OVI conviction upheld by court

Press Staff Writer

The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Millbury woman for operating a vehicle while under the influence - a misdemeanor.
Karen S. Steele had appealed her March 2020 OVI conviction in Perrysburg Municipal Court, arguing her accident was caused by a passenger grabbing the steering wheel and not by alcohol, which is what she told Lake Township police officers at the scene.
“Appellant (Steele) concludes that when faced with this explanation, no rational juror could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that alcohol was the cause of the accident,” the appeals court wrote. “First, appellant’s argument improperly obfuscates what the state is required to prove. The state was not required to prove the cause of the accident. Instead, the state was only required to prove that appellant operated the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.”
Other evidence presented at the trial by the prosecution was also compelling, the appeals court wrote. That evidence included her erratic operation of her vehicle, her denial she was in an accident, her failure of field sobriety tests, and other factors.
She had refused to take a breathalyzer test but testified during her court hearing that she was upset at the time of the accident and should have taken the test.
Steele was charged Aug. 18, 2019 after a township police officer observed her vehicle hit a stop sign near the corner of Bradner and Woodville roads and then drive along a ditch for about 200 feet before turning left onto Walbridge Road, according to court records.
Another charge against her, operating a vehicle without reasonable control, is a minor misdemeanor and wasn’t presented to the jury.


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