A township firefighter charged Friday with drunken driving cannot work until a judge makes a ruling in court, the fire chief says.
Michael Lyons, 44, of New Middletown was off duty when he was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and using weapons while intoxicated, both misdemeanors. His driver’s license was suspended at his arrest.
“Since they pulled his license, he cannot work until he goes to court and there’s a ruling from a judge,” said fire Chief George Brown. “He’s a model employee of 13 years, and it’s unfortunate. He was trying to do a good deed.”
Police were called about 10 p.m. Thursday to a wooded area behind The Georgetown banquet center in Mathews Square Plaza for gunshots.
When officers arrived, they followed shoe prints and deer prints with a blood trail to the back of the Boardman Fire Station on South Avenue.
Police saw Lyons’ pickup truck running in the back parking lot, and Lyons told them he was looking for a deer that had been hit by a car, according to reports.
An officer told Lyons they were called because a resident reported a man with a flashlight shooting into the woods, and Lyons said it was he because he wanted to make sure the deer didn’t suffer. Police said they asked Lyons to show them where he last saw the wounded animal, so Lyons drove his truck with an unidentified passenger to the back of The Georgetown, and police followed.
During a longer conversation with Lyons behind The Georgetown, police detected an odor of alcohol, got consent from Lyons to search the truck and found two rifles, four open beer cans and a case of beer with seven full cans remaining, reports state. Lyons’ passenger was given a verbal warning for open container, police said.
At the police station, Lyons took a breath test that registered his blood-alcohol content at 0.126. The legal limit is 0.08 in Ohio.
Brown said police did find the deer with a broken leg early Friday and killed it.
“We’re doing our investigation. [Lyons] is not being treated any different than any other citizen would be treated,” he said.