Charges still pending in hit-and-run involving Trumbull 911 director

By Ed Runyan


Charges are pending in Eastern District Court related to a crash involving Ernie Cook, the Trumbull County 911 director, and a skateboarder Saturday night at Crestwood and Sunnydale drives.

Cook smelled of alcohol and had a blood-alcohol level of almost double the legal limit three hours after the accident, according to a report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Cook’s intoxication level was 0.148; the legal intoxication limit in Ohio is 0.08.

Cook, 66, who was also chief deputy under former county Sheriff Thomas Altiere, did not stop for the crash, telling a state trooper investigator he did not see the skateboarder and thought he hit a dog or squirrel.

Cook drove home after the accident and told an investigator he drank two beers at home but had not been drinking before the crash.

The patrol said the skateboarder, Michael Isco, 17, of Crestwood Drive, was trying to turn right just before the crash and realized he could not make it, so he jumped off the skateboard, and his body hit the left front corner of Cook’s car at 10:15 p.m.

Isco said his foot and leg were run over by the left front tire of Cook’s 2017 Mustang convertible. “Then the car just kept going,” Isco said. Isco did not show any signs of impairment, a trooper said. Isco received treatment at Sharon Regional Medical Center.

Officers with the Brookfield Police Department arrived at Isco’s home about 30 minutes after the accident and spoke with Isco and his father. Ernest Cook Jr., 18, Cook’s son, who was following behind his father in another vehicle at the time of the crash, was also there with his father’s car.

Brookfield police arrived at Cook Sr.’s house at 10:51 p.m. and spoke with him, noting he “smelled strongly of alcohol, slurred his speech significantly and appeared highly intoxicated.”

When two sergeants with the patrol arrived at Cook’s house, two Brookfield officers said they followed Cook around his house to make sure Cook did not drink any alcohol.

Cook, who troopers said had a strong odor of alcohol, told a patrol sergeant he didn’t know he struck a pedestrian but felt a “bump” in the rear of his car and thought it might be a dog or squirrel. He said his son “stopped to see what happened” and came home to tell him. Cook had a female passenger.

Cook said his son took the car back to the scene “and would talk to everyone. This was the reason he did not return to the scene,” the accident report says.

Cook did not do well on field-sobriety tests, the patrol said. He blew into a portable breathalyzer, which registered a 0.125.

The patrol sergeant said he “did not charge Ernie that night because I did not know the extent of the injuries to Michael Isco, and I needed to perform more investigation.”

No supervisor was available at the patrol’s Southington Post on Thursday afternoon to discuss the status of charges, a dispatcher said.

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