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Columbus police officer pleads guilty in deadly hit-and-run from 2022

Ortega is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus Division of Police officer charged in a fatal hit-and-run last year pleaded guilty on Thursday.

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 not long after.

According to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, that vehicle belonged to Columbus Police Detective Demetris Ortega. They said investigators determined Ortega had been drinking and was under the influence at the time of the crash.

In April, a grand jury indicted Ortega on one charge of failure to stop after an accident and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

On Thursday, Ortega pleaded guilty to the charges, according Franklin County Common Pleas court documents.

In a statement from the family's attorney, Rusty Flickinger said "We are glad that the officer has taken responsibility."

In a phone call with 10TV, Kifaax Mataan, Abdirahman’s sister, said “justice has not been served yet.”

Ortega was relieved of duty shortly after the crash happened. 

Defensive attorney Mark Collins, who is representing Ortega, said he resigned from the police department, which will take effect Oct. 4.

Collins said Ortega was blacked out at the time of the crash.

"He was drinking alcohol after his shift, and to the point where sometimes he would black out and so he was very helpful to the authorities up to a point but after that he couldn’t remember,” Collins said.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3.

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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