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City firefighter sentenced for drunk-driving, hit-skip crash


Toledo firefighters Paul Heiss keeps cool while battling a fire at the Tate Funeral home, 1003 Broadway, Toledo, Ohio, Sunday, July 11, 2010.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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An off-duty Toledo firefighter involved in an alcohol-related, hit-skip collision in West Toledo seven months ago admitted guilt Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court.

Paul Heiss, 31, of 2354 Charleston Ave. pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, one of six charges he faced in the Dec. 30 crash involving two other vehicles on West Sylvania Avenue near Douglas Road.

Judge Michelle Wagner imposed a 17-day jail sentence, but suspended all but three days, which she ordered to be served in a drunken-driving remediation program.

Additional offenses of failure to stop after an accident, ability to stop in assured clear distance, starting and backing, failure to display plates, and disorderly conduct were dismissed.

Adam Loukx, Toledo law director, said prosecutors consulted the victims involved in the accident prior to Mr. Heiss entering the plea.

“The victims were consulted in this and it is my understanding they were good with it,” he said. “It is a good resolution.”

Mr. Heiss, a 10-year veteran of the fire department, struck a stopped SUV at a traffic light and then backed up and struck another vehicle.

After the second crash, he drove away in his pickup, but one of the hit-skip victims recorded the vehicle license plate.

No serious injuries were reported from either collision, but one of the victims went to a local hospital for treatment of back and neck pain.

Chief Luis Santiago said the departmental investigation of the incident had been put on hold pending the traffic charges’ outcome.

“We will now proceed into the disciplinary process within the fire department,” he said. “It laid dormant until the proceeding was complete. We will start our process and go from there.”

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