Warren traffic officer faces OVI in multi-vehicle wreck
Ben Harrell, the Warren police officer with primary responsibility for traffic crash investigation, was himself involved in a crash Wednesday night — and then charged by the Trumbull County Sheriff’s office.
Harrell will appear today in Warren Municipal Court on charges of operating a vehicle impaired, speeding and failure to maintain an assured clear distance, according to records at the sheriff’s office.
Harrell, 45, was off duty and traveling west on Youngstown Road near Kenmore Avenue at about 7:30 p.m., when his GMC Sierra pickup truck struck the rear of a stopped car driven by Jessica Dillworth of Warren. That caused a chain-reaction that involved three other vehicles.
All of the vehicles except Harrell’s was stopped in traffic at the time, a report states.
Dillworth was treated at St. Joseph Health Center. None of the occupants of the other vehicles required treatment.
Harrell consented to taking a test administered by a deputy with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office that indicated Harrell’s blood-alcohol level was 0.207, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
OVI is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
When he was interviewed, Harrell told a deputy that he didn’t see the vehicle stopped in front of him.
Records in Warren Municipal Court show that Harrell is the officer who filed charges hundreds of times in recent years against people involved in traffic crashes in Warren.
Doug Franklin, Warren service director, said no formal action has been taken against Harrell as a result of the accident while it is under investigation.