LIMA – The attorney for an Elida man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in the March 11 traffic death of a Wapakoneta woman argued in court Monday that blood samples taken from his client following the crash should not be allowed as evidence at trial.
Attorney Kenneth Rexford said Frank Steinke had not yet been placed under arrest when he gave consent for a blood draw that ultimately confirmed Steinke was driving under the influence of alcohol when his vehicle crossed the center line of state Route 501 and struck head-on a vehicle driven by Nicole Schulte, of Wapakoneta.
Schulte died from injuries suffered in the crash. Steinke, 65, of Elida, was charged with the second-degree felony in addition to two counts of misdemeanor OVI.
Rexford maintained that investigating officer Sgt. Rob Kohli of the Shawnee Township Police Department — at the direction of Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick — intentionally waited until Steinke was officially discharged from a Lima hospital before placing him under arrest. The defense attorney suggested the timing was so the county would avoid financial liability for the Elida man’s medical treatment.
“A silly concern over a medical bill is a really bad reason to delay the arrest procedure,” Rexford said. He also noted that the prosecutor’s decision ordering Kohli to take Steinke into custody following his release from the hospital is another indication that the man was not already under arrest when he consented to the blood test.
“You don’t put someone in custody who is already in custody,” he said.
Kohli testified Monday that Steinke was “highly intoxicated and somewhat combative” following the accident.
According to court documents, Steinke admitted drinking “three beers” prior to the crash. An unopened Coors Light beer can was found on the ground among the debris from his vehicle following the crash, according to reports from law enforcement.
Police reportedly found Steinke to be “disoriented and unsteady on his feet” with “watery eyes and slow, slurred speech as well as an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person,” according to reports from the scene.
Judge Jeffrey Reed took the defense motion under advisement.