Delaware County Deputy Pleads No Contest, Ordered To Pay $20 Fine After Man’s Death


UPDATED: Thursday December 13, 2012 6:28 PM

A Delaware County deputy pleaded no contest to a minor misdemeanor charge of failure to assist a law enforcement officer on Thursday.

Delaware County Deputy Christopher Hughes was one of three men facing misdemeanor dereliction of duty charges stemming from the death of a man in July.

Authorities found Uriel Juarez-Popoca after he crashed his vehicle into the median along Interstate 71 in Delaware County. Toxicology reports would later show that Popoca was intoxicated.

None of the officers on the scene took the 22-year-old man to jail, but instead dropped him off at a Taco Bell restaurant.

Dash camera footage showed Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Sean Carpenter, as well as Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies Derek Beggs and Hughes talking about what to do with Popoca.

Popoca later walked into a roadway, where he was struck and killed. A toxicology report showed Popoca had a metabolized alcohol level of .26.

Hughes was ordered to pay a $20 fine, plus court costs.

Trials for Beggs and Carpenter then began on Thursday.

Prosecutors said the men did not do their jobs.

"The incident occurs close to shift change, and the defendants were more concerned about going home. Instead of treating this like a crime scene, they made a joke out of it," said Mary Lynn Graf-Caswell, prosecutor.

Attorneys for the lawmen answered back.

"More nonsense, more lies, more garbage. The people that signed these complaints should be ashamed of themselves," said defense attorney Sam Shamansky.

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