December 6, 2011
A Westerville man who spent eight years in prison after killing an Ohio State Trooper in a 2001 drunken driving accident is facing up to an additional three years in prison after being arrested last month for driving under a lifetime suspension.
David Dye, 43, appeared in Judge Duncan Whitney’s courtroom Tuesday to face those charges along with charges of violating Ohio’s open container law, a minor misdemeanor.
Dye pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Judge Whitney acknowledged that Dye, who turned himself in on Monday, is not a flight risk. However, he deemed him a danger to others while issuing a $150,000 bond in the case.
“You are a risk to the public,” Judge Whitney told Dye.
According to assistant county prosecutor Brian Walter, Dye has five previous convictions for operating a vehicle while impaired, the last being the incident in 2001 in which Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Frank Vazquez lost his life after his vehicle was struck by Dye’s during a traffic stop on Interstate 270.
Dye was also charged earlier this year in Delaware City Municipal Court with failure to reinstate license and failure to yield at a right of way.
“The state has serious concerns about the defendant following the court’s orders,” Walter told the judge. “It appears that he has a pattern of not following the court’s orders even since he has been out of prison.”
Dye’s latest charge stems from a Nov. 19 incident in which a Genoa Township police officer spotted Dye driving away from a business. Once stopped, officers discovered a mixed alcoholic beverage in the center console.
Michael Miller, Dye’s attorney, said that his client was not drinking the day of his arrest. Instead, he was preparing to go to a tailgate party prior to the Ohio State-Penn State football game.
“It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but he certainly wasn’t drinking and driving,” Miller told Judge Whitney.
A trial date has been set for Tuesday, March 20.
If convicted of the third degree felony, Dye could face up to 36 months in prison along with a $10,000 fine. While awaiting trial, Dye was also ordered not to leave the state, consume any drugs or alcohol and maintain employment with his father’s company, Superior Packaging Incorporated.
“It’s obvious this defendent has an extreme problem with alcohol and it’s obvious that he has not learned anything from the fatal crash that he caused 10 years ago,” Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said in a press release following the arraignment. “To be driving under a lifetime ban is disturbing enough, but to also have an alcoholic drink sitting in your console shows his blatant disregard for other people’s lives.”