Bond Set For Columbus Police Sergeant Arrested for Second OVI
A Columbus Police sergeant faces charges for allegedly driving drunk and having a gun in his car. This isn't the sergeant's first OVI accusation.
32-year-old Sergeant Joshua Wagner appeared in court on Wednesday.
Columbus police say he was arrested Monday night after a driver dialed 911 about a wrong-way driver on Neil Avenue near King Avenue.
Wagner was relieved of duty for three months, after his first OVI in September, but a police spokesperson says he was back at work.
According to police, he is just a few weeks away from his final review by the chief of police for his internal review.
Now, after being stopped on Neil Avenue, he is facing an even bigger problem.
"CPD ended up getting a report that there was a car driving the wrong way on Neil Avenue, and when officers arrived, they found the driver of that vehicle passed out behind the wheel," said Columbus Police Sergeant Rich Weiner.
According to responding officers, the car was stopped on the curb after nearly striking another driver head-on.
"It did look like it was parked slightly on the curb," said Columbus resident, Alyssa Martig.
Martig said she remembered thinking it was strange seeing police cruisers outside of her home on Neil avenue and a tow truck taking the car away.
"The fact that I could be driving on the street, and that happening. That's really scary," said Martig.
She says she didn't know the driver of the car was a Columbus Police sergeant, which is a ranking officer within the division.
"Division personnel are held to a higher standard, just given the position that we hold, and the trust that the community has in us," said Weiner.
According to the police narrative, 32-year-old Joshua Wagner "…was unsteady on his feet, had pinpoint pupils, had slurred speech, and thought he was on 24th Ave."
The narrative goes on to say, "Mr. Wagner was unsteady on his feet and had to be grabbed by [the responding sergeant] several times to prevent him from falling over."
"This is considered critical misconduct," said Weiner.
Just a few blocks over, at the corner of E 2nd and Summit Avenue, Wagner was arrested for an almost identical OVI approximately eight months ago.
Witnesses, at the time, say he was passed out behind the wheel of his car with his foot on the brake.
"Well, hopefully they get that taken care of because we don't need, first of all, dangerous drivers on the street. Second of all, police officers doing that. That's not very good representation," said Martig.
Police say Wagner had a gun and pills in the car at the time of his arrest Monday night.
He is now under arrest for OVI and improperly handling a firearm, which is a felony. On Wednesday, Wagner plead not guilty to the OVI charge and did not enter a plea on the firearm charge.
A judge set a $7,000 bond for both charges.
"We take it very serious and when one of our employees violates the law, in that manner, it will be taken serious," said Weiner.
Sgt. Weiner tells 10TV that it is now up to the Columbus Chief of Police and the city's Public Safety Director to determine his police punishment, which could result in job loss. Weiner says the division offers a confidential assistance program to anyone in need of help.