An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was arrested about 6:30 p.m. Monday, accused of operating a vehicle while impaired on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown, police said.
Trooper Jason Fantone, 36, of Austintown, was found sleeping in his vehicle outside of Buffalo Wild Wings. Police were informed by witnesses at the restaurant that there was an intoxicated man.
Workers there told police Fantone was asked to leave after being served two beers and falling asleep on the counter.
When police arrived, they attempted to wake Fantone. He had the keys in the ignition of the vehicle and left it running as he slept. Police said they had to shake Fantone to wake him.
When asked how much he had to drink, after appearing visibly drunk, Fantone responded, “I am a trooper; just leave me alone,” according to a police report.
Fantone refused to take a sobriety test, and instead he spun around and told the police to arrest him, the report said.
While police were issuing Fantone his citation for the OVI , Fantone repeatedly talked disrespectfully about the Austintown Police Department, according to the report. The police told Fantone to call for a ride, and when he could not find a ride, a police officer drove him home.
His court date is today.
Fantone has been a trooper since 2004, and he won Trooper of the Year in 2008.
This is not the first time Fantone has been in trouble with the law. In 2011, he was arrested at a Jan. 2 Cleveland Browns football game for heckling officers and for vandalism. The Vindicator reported Fantone did more than $500 worth of damage to his holding cell in Cuyahoga County. Charges were reduced to a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct, according to an arbiter’s opinion and award. That February, Fantone agreed to enter a six-month diversion program.
On Feb. 28, 2011, Fantone received a letter of termination from his job at the patrol’s Canfield post. After completing the diversion program, Fantone’s record was expunged.
He filed a grievance against his termination, and in December 2011, a labor arbiter awarded him his job back. He was assigned to the patrol’s Warren post, Lt. Anne Ralston of the highway patrol said.
Fantone will be placed on administrative duties and will be working, but not in uniform as a trooper, Ralston said.
After an administrative investigation, it will be decided what disciplinary action will be taken, which could include up to termination.
Overall, Fantone has no disciplinary reports as a trooper.