PIQUA — A Piqua police officer is on administrative leave after wrecking his patrol vehicle while he was allegedly under the influence of alcohol over the weekend.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, at approximately 7:30 p.m., a Piqua police officer self-reported a crash on private property to his supervisor. The crash took place in the rear parking lot of the former Piqua Board of Education office, located at 719 E. Ash St., in an area that is currently under construction.
Officer Justin W. Augustine, 38, of Troy, reportedly struck a a flat-bed semi-trailer loaded with concrete barriers used to separate lanes in road construction areas. The trailer had damage to a light fixture on the front right corner. Dick Lumpkin’s Towing towed the police cruiser from the scene.
Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison released a statement on Monday regarding the incident, explaining that during the course of that supervisor’s investigation, reasonable suspicion was developed to charge that officer with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, according to Jamison. An internal investigation was commenced.
“The first principle in any internal investigation is the department’s duty to the public,” according to Jamison. “The second principle is the duty to provide fair procedures to any officer involved.”
Jamison stated that no other public comments will be made by the city of Piqua or the Piqua Police Department, but the Piqua Police Department released the department’s report of the incident and the traffic crash report.
According to Piqua police reports about the incident, Augustine reported the private property crash, telling his supervisor Lt. Rick Byron of the Piqua Police Department that he was trying to urinate near the southeast corner of the building.
Lt. Byron observed “significant damage to the entire passenger side” of Augustine’s patrol vehicle, beginning at the front windshield and ending on the rear quarter panel. The windshield and both passenger side door windows were broken, according to police reports.
When Lt. Byron asked Augustine what happened, Augustine reportedly said again that he was trying to urinate. Augustine said that he was driving 20 mph during the incident. Augustine would also occassionally yell obscenities while he was being questioned.
An officer observed that Augustine’s eyes “were bloodshot and red and that his speech was slow and slurred,” according to police reports. A Four Loko Gold 14 percent alcohol per volume malt beverage can was later located in the driver’s door of Augustine’s personal vehicle. An empty can of the same beverage was also found near the crash scene.
The Piqua Police Department attempted to have Augustine go to the Upper Valley Medical Center to undergo a drug and alcohol screen due to being in an accident with a city-owned vehicle, but he refused. Augustine reportedly admitted to drinking alcohol earlier in the day, but he refused all OVI tests and was placed under an Administrative License Suspension (ALS).
Augustine was eventually transported to UVMC for a Behavioral Health Assessment and to be medically cleared, but Augustine was not processed due to his condition.
Augustine was cited for OVI — Refusal and operating a vehicle without being in reasonable control of vehicle. Augustine is scheduled to be arraigned in Miami County Municipal Court on Wednesday.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org