Maumee Administrator John Jezak was found guilty yesterday in Maumee Municipal Court of driving under the influence after pleading no contest.
Visiting Judge Donald Petroff of Oregon Municipal Court dismissed a charge of failure to control and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. No sentencing date was set.
Mr. Jezak, who was charged because his car went into a ditch along I-475 near Salisbury Road on Aug. 31, told the court the incident was “out of character” for him.
His attorney, Gary Kuns, told the judge that Mr. Jezak has an outstanding record working for Maumee and Springfield Township. Mr. Jezak, who became the first township administrator in northwest Ohio when he took over the reins of Springfield Township government six years ago, was named Maumee city administrator-safety director in February.
Mr. Kuns told the court his client regularly runs marathons, and Mr. Jezak's physical activities are not consistent with someone who has a drinking problem.
Special Prosecutor Gary Smith, a Swanton lawyer, said that he has no reason to believe that Mr. Jezak is not diligent in his work, but the prosecutor noted that Mr. Jezak was convicted of a driving while under the influence charge 16 years ago, making the latest charge his second DUI offense.
Mr. Jezak was convicted of driving under the influence in 1984 in Huron, O., according to Maumee court records.
Mr. Kuns, who said that the previous offense occurred many years ago, told the court that Mr. Jezak had been out with people from Maumee the night his car went into the ditch. Part of the punishment Mr. Jezak has endured occurred when he had to contact city council members, who had recently hired him, to tell them about the incident, Mr. Kuns said.
The Ohio Highway Patrol said Mr. Jezak failed a Breathalyzer test that was administered at the patrol's Toledo post on Airport Highway. His blood-alcohol content was 0.13 per cent, above Ohio's 0.10 per cent legal limit.
His driver's license was suspended on the spot, as state law requires. In mid-September, Mr. Jezak, in a letter to Maumee Municipal Court, asked that he be given occupational driving privileges. His request was granted, effective Sept. 16.
Mr. Smith said that the minimum sentence for driving while under the influence is three days in jail, a $250 fine, and a six-month license suspension, and that the maximum sentence is 6 months in jail, $1,000 fine, and a three-year license suspension.
Mr. Jezak's job is not in jeopardy, said Maumee council President Kevin Olman, who described the incident as an “unfortunate situation for the city of Maumee.” Mr. Olman, who said he was disappointed by Mr. Jezak's actions, commended the administrator for doing a “great job” for the city.
Mr. Olman said the administrator has been “reprimanded at the highest level. We will not tolerate that out of anyone.”
City officials have evaluated the matter, Mr. Olman said, and Mr. Jezak will continue to be “the city administrator under the highest guidelines. He has continued to do a great job for the city of Maumee and at this point forward, his job will be evaluated as any other professional in this situation.”
Maumee Mayor Tim Wagener described Mr. Jezak as an “excellent administrator and safety director who made a mistake.” The mayor said he has “absolute zero concern that there is any drinking problem,” and said he is certain that Mr. Jezak will “abide with whatever the judge rules.”