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Canton Highway Patrol post first in OVI arrests

Posted at 6:32 AM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 06:32:49-05

The Canton Post of Ohio State Highway Patrol leads the state in operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) arrests in 2015. 

Stark County deputies said the rise in arrests is partly due to heightened OVI attention and increased patrols. 

“It's great news that we’ve stopped more OVI offenders, but it’s sad news that there are more people drinking and driving,” Sgt. C.J. Stantz of the Stark County Sheriff’s Department told newsnet5.com.  

According to data obtained by newsnet5.com, the Canton Post 76 has made 1,094 arrests this year. The Cleveland Metro Post 18 has made 882. 

OVI arrests in Stark County reached 969 arrests as of this weekend. That’s up from 867 arrests year-to-date in 2014.

Cuyahoga, Geauga, Summit, Lorain, Wayne, and Medina counties all saw a decrease in OVI arrests so far this year.  

Lt. Leo Shirkey, Ohio State Highway Patrol Canton Post Commander, told newsnet5.com that repeat offenders make up a large portion of OVI suspects. 

“That’s somebody who’s not getting the message,” Shirkey said. “He doesn’t care about anyone else on the roadway but himself.”

Massillon police told newsnet5.com that two OVI suspects were arrested this weekend. One suspect had an active warrant for failure to appear on another OVI change from 2015. 

Another suspect was arrested for his fourth OVI charge. 

In Canton, police found 24-year-old Gavonte Jones passed out in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane. He was arrested for OVI, his fourth, according to court documents. 

In Ohio, felony charges are incurred after four OVI offenses within a six-year period.

Local law enforcement officials told newsnet5.com Ohio’s penalty system can be too lenient. 

“The laws could be stiffer,” Stantz told newsnet5.com. “Many people out there would love those penalties increased for that.”

In Indiana, a second drunk driving offense can be charged as a felony if committed within 5 years of the first charge. 

Pennsylvania drivers are labeled “habitual offenders” after their third drunk driving offense. Offenders are subject to a 5-year license revocation. 

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