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Published: Saturday, 1/3/2009

Former Toledo worker gets 2 years in DUI case

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gary Groszewski, 50, has been arrested for drunken driving 14 times. Gary Groszewski, 50, has been arrested for drunken driving 14 times.
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Saying that Gary Groszewski "simply substituted one substance for another," a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge yesterday sent the former Toledo city employee and repeat drunken driver to a drug treatment center followed by two years and four months in prison.

Groszewski, 52, was found guilty in November, 2007, of felony drunken driving on city time and sentenced last January to five years probation, including time in the Correctional Treatment Facility. At the time of sentencing, Judge James Jensen postponed Groszewski's obligation in the treatment center until an appeal in the case was decided.

Groszewski admitted yesterday to violating his community control when a few months ago, he tested positive for smoking marijuana. Judge Jensen reminded him that he was warned about a 30-month prison term if he violated conditions of community control.

"Here's what astounds me: you have a significant history of contact with the courts," Judge Jensen said. "How many [driving under the influence] convictions do you have?"

"I'm not sure," Groszewski answered.

"More than 10?"

"Yes, probably."

Groszewski's Dec. 7, 2006, arrest for drunken driving was the 14th time he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Attorney Alan Konop yesterday noted that there was about 17 years between his 2006 arrest and the one prior.

While employed as a general utility worker for the city, Groszewski was arrested by police after fellow employees noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath and notified a supervisor. The supervisor recalled Groszewski from the road, asked that he submit to a blood-alcohol test, and contacted police.

Whether those tests and Groszewski's statements were admissible during the criminal proceedings is the basis for the appeal that is pending before the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals. Mr. Konop said he believes that because Groszewski submitted to the tests and interviews as a condition of his employment, the evidence was gathered during an employment-related investigation and so should not be used in a criminal investigation.

Groszewski's blood-alcohol content was 0.093 percent and 0.092 percent. Under Ohio law, a motorist is considered to be intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent.

Mr. Konop told Judge Jensen yesterday that since being fired from his job with the city, Groszewski has returned to school and is working toward a master's degree in criminal justice at the University of Toledo.

Groszewski asked Judge Jensen to allow him to continue making progress.

"I made some mistakes, I admit that," he said. "But I'm in a period of my life where I've made a lot of positive steps."

Judge Jensen responded saying, "The answer is no." He then sentenced Groszewski to 30 months in prison with credit for the 60 days he will spend in the Community Treatment Facility. He granted a weekend stay to allow Groszewski time to get his home and affairs in order.

"I feel badly for Gary," Mr. Konop said after the court appearance. "He did slip, but he's pulled himself back together and has been testing negative for drugs the past few months."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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