MENTOR, Ohio — The man accused of hitting and killing Mentor police officer Mathew Mazany with his car changed his plea to guilty on Friday.
Brian Anthony, 25, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them, failing to proceed with due caution, and/or failure to change lanes when approaching a stationary public safety vehicle displaying emergency lights and one count of failing to stop after an accident.
Prosecutors said Anthony had heroin, fentanyl, codeine, ethanol and other derivatives of fentanyl in his urine during the time of the crash.
Officer Mazany died in June while assisting another officer on a traffic stop on State Route 2. He was standing outside of another police cruiser when he was struck by a Jeep Wrangler, according to Mentor Police Chief Kevin Knight.
"The defendant, driving his Jeep Wrangler, under the influence and impaired, struck Officer Mazany's body full-speed, highway speed," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rocco Dipierro.
In court Friday, Depierro laid out the evidence against Anthony. He said the crash followed a night of drinking with friends and drug use by Anthony.
"These friends describe the defendant as being, quote 'blackout drunk,'" said Dipierro.
Investigators found Anthony's Jeep at the Mentor Lagoons Marina hours later. Prosecutors say Anthony was passed out in a hammock nearby. He surrendered to police.
Mazany, a 14-year veteran of the Mentor Police Department, was 41 years old and he left behind a son, father, and a brother. Born in Maple Heights, his father served as an officer for 34 years. It was Mathew's childhood ambition to be a policeman. Over the years, the Mentor officer received letters from residents thanking him for his professionalism while out on patrol.
"He loved the midnight shift. He liked working with the younger officers," said Mentor's Chief of Police Kevin Knight.
Mazany was described as "a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. I think that is the best way to describe him. He came to work and enjoyed his cigars after work," Knight said.
Anthony is scheduled to be sentenced April 12. He faces a minimum of two years and up to 11 1/2 years in prison.