LIMA — An Allen County judge ruled that blood collected from an Elida man charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in the March 11 traffic death of a Wapakoneta woman cannot be introduced as evidence against him at trial.
Attorney Kenneth Rexford during a Monday hearing argued that his client, 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.
Judge Jeffrey Reed, in a ruling issued Tuesday, agreed with Rexford and upheld the motion to have the results of Steinke’s blood test barred as evidence in the case.
Reed wrote in his ruling there can be “no implied consent to withdraw blood and no presumption arising from the result of an analysis thereof … unless the person from whom the blood is taken was arrested for the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol.”
“The question presented in this case, then, is whether the defendant was under arrest when the form 2255 was read, when defendant consented to draw blood and when the blood was drawn,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
Citing Ohio case law, Reed said the evidence that a form 2255 is read to a defendant is evidence of an arrest but not sufficient to “imply” arrest and that the arresting officer “neither did nor said anything to the defendant from which the defendant would understand to mean that he was under arrest.”
Reed said the traditional elements of arrest “were not shown to have existed in this case when the defendant was read the form 2255 and consented to the blood draw.”
No trial date for Steinke has yet been set.