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Published: Sunday, 10/28/2012

Cruiser rear-ended on I-280, drunken driver suspected


A Northwood police officer assisting at the scene of a crash in Oregon was injured Friday night when his patrol car was rear-ended on I-280 by a suspected drunken driver.

Officer Michael Schwanbeck was treated at Bay Park Hospital, according to the Northwood Police Department, which was operating a sobriety checkpoint on Woodville Road a few miles away at the time of the crash.

Charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated is Melody Bower, 33, of Northwood, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

The officer was assisting Oregon police with an earlier crash.

His cruiser was stopped in the right lane of I-280 southbound, south of Navarre Avenue, with emergency lights activated when his vehicle was struck in the rear by a southbound car traveling in the right lane at about 11:45 p.m., according to the patrol.

The southbound lanes of I-280 were closed for about 30 minutes.

Both the officer and Ms. Bower wore seat belts, according to the patrol, which said she was not injured.

In addition to the OVI, Ms. Bower was charged with failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead.

No drunken-driving arrests were reported during the sobriety checkpoint — which Northwood conducted with assistance from the Oregon, Holland, and Waterville police departments, the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, and the highway patrol — but tickets were issued for other traffic offenses to the drivers of 12 of the 57 vehicles that were diverted for further investigation.

The citations included one for reckless operation issued to a driver who nearly struck two officers at the checkpoint, Northwood police said; five were for various license-plate violations, and five for operating without a license.

A passenger in one of the latter five vehicles was cited for allowing an unlicensed person to drive.

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