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Columbus police detective indicted in hit-and-run that left woman dead

Columbus Police Officer Demetris Ortega was indicted on one charge of failure to stop after an accident and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A grand jury indicted a Columbus Division of Police officer who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run last year, according to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office.

Around 2:40 a.m. on April 20, 2022, 30-year-old Naimo Abdirahman was crossing the street in the area of Morse Road and Walford Street when she was hit by a vehicle that fled the scene. She was pronounced dead moments later.

The day of the crash, sources confirmed to 10TV that the car involved belonged to Columbus Police Officer Demetris Ortega, 49, and that it was not a police cruiser.

Detective Ortega failed to stop after the crash and left the scene, according to a release from the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office. Investigators determined Ortega had been drinking and was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Ortega was indicted on one felony charge of failure to stop after an accident and a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.

The prosecutor's office said detectives were not able to conclusively identify Abdirahman's location at the time of the crash and they were not able to determine that Ortega was at fault in causing the crash, which "is an essential element of a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide or vehicular homicide."

Ortega was relieved of duty shortly after the crash happened.

Mark Collins, Ortega's defense attorney, released a statement saying “We were made aware of the indictment earlier today. We plan on entering a not guilty plea at his arraignment.”

Ortega is scheduled to be arraigned on May 10 at 1 p.m. 

Ortega was previously charged and suspended in 2015 after being involved in an OVI crash. 

According to the personnel file previously released by the Columbus Division of Police, Ortega was involved in an off-duty crash on Aug. 22, 2015 that led to an OVI charge. He was relieved of duty that day.

According to Franklin County court documents, Ortega took a breathalyzer test and had a blood-alcohol level of .134%.

Ortega pleaded guilty on Feb. 9, 2016, according to records. He was fined $375 and given one-year probation. A specific date when Ortega was reinstated was not listed in his personnel file. 

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