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Ohio man arrested for 16th OVI months after prison release

Posted: 6:08 PM, Sep 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-26 23:36:34Z

Fresh out of prison, after serving four years for a felony level OVI, 51-year-old Patrick Kennelly was caught by Erie County Sheriff's Deputies and Berlin Heights Police back on the road, allegedly drinking and driving.

The camera mounted to an Erie County deputy's chest couldn't capture the smell of alcohol officers said was emanating from his car and person, but it did demonstrate the roadside sobriety tests Kennelly had failed more than a dozen times. 

Kennelly was arrested September 19 for what News 5 learned was his sixteenth drunk driving offense. 

Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth told News 5 they believe at least five were felony offenses. 

The sheriff also said Kennelly had at least 40 license suspensions and a permanent license revocation before this most recent arrest. 

Kennelly was just released from prison in the past year and was still on parole from a felony charge in 2013. 

"People insist on engaging in this behavior, and they will not stop, and they continue to endanger the public through their actions," Sheriff Sigsworth said. "It's common to have multiple OVI offenders — people who have been convicted of multiple OVI offenses."

It is a statewide problem that's bigger than Kennelly. He's not the only repeat offender. 

"The courts are the ones that make the final decisions, but I think most courts, most judges realize the only way to ensure that they don't drive is to keep them incarcerated," Sheriff Sigsworth said.

The car Kennelly was driving belongs to his mother. She's been charged with wrongful entrustment. 

News 5 also learned he was only caught because another driver saw him swerving and alerted the sheriff's office.  That's a message the Sheriff hopes everyone takes seriously: "We want those calls. We want to remove those individuals from the roadway who insist on drinking and driving, or using narcotics and driving, before they kill someone."

Kennelly is in jail right now without bond. He's expected in court next week.