Lawyers seek to keep evidence out of trial in traffic deaths of four


First Posted: 6/16/2008

CELINA - Police investigating a fatal crash in March rushed to judgment in making arrests, at least that's what attorneys for a Chickasaw man accused of killing four people in the collision said in court papers filed Monday.

In a continuing effort to have potential evidence tossed, Dayton attorneys Marc Ross and Scott Calaway wrote that police were "admirable" in their effort to "cover all of their bases."

But, the attorneys argued police did not have probable cause to arrest their client, Nicholas Schwieterman, or take blood or urine samples because investigators initially placed Schwieterman and Kyle Schmitmeyer under arrest for the same crime, making his arrest unlawful because there was no probable cause. Schwieterman was later found by police to be the driver of a car that crashed into another killing four in the other car.

The filing in Mercer County Common Pleas Court is the latest in a month-long effort to get the blood and urine test results, oral or written statements or admissions made by Schwieterman as well as a wallet and identifying information found in the vehicle he was accused of driving thrown out.

On Friday, Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Fox filed his response to the motion to suppress arguing that Schwieterman was informed of his rights and chose to make statements anyway.

Schwieterman faces 16 charges stemming from the March 15 crash that killed Jordan Moeller, 18, of Celina, Jordan Diller, 19, of Maria Stein, Jordan Goettemoeller, 19, of Maria Stein, and Bradley Roeckner, 19, of Celina. Schwieterman faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter, eight counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, one count of trafficking in drugs and one count of possession of drugs. The drug charges involve cocaine. Schwieterman tested positive for cocaine in his system following the crash, according to court records.

Schwieterman was driving a 1996 Pontiac Bonneville on Brockman Road when he failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection of Brockman Road and county Road 716A. The Bonneville struck the 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Moeller. All four were pronounced dead at the scene.

Last month, Dr. Michael G. Bissell, director of clinical chemistry and toxicology at the Ohio State University Medical Center, testified his lab determined Schwieterman was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana at the time of the crash.

Schwieterman had a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.13 percent, Bissell said. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08 percent. Bissell also said Schwieterman's cocaine level tested at 7,990 nanograms - under Ohio law a person is considered under the influence of cocaine at 150 nanograms.

Judge Jeffrey Ingraham has yet to rule on the motion to suppress. Ingraham has set the matter for trial in September.