2012-02-04 / News

Buckeye Lake officer pleads not guilty

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – A Buckeye Lake Police officer pleaded not guilty during a Jan. 26 hearing to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Officer James Petrey remains on unpaid leave while other legal issues related to the incident are addressed. Buckeye Lake Police Chief Ron Small said Petrey’s request for a hearing to have the charges dismissed was put off until possibly March and there’s been no change regarding criminal charges against Petrey filed by the New Albany Police Department for inducing panic, weapons under disability, and displaying a weapon while intoxicated.

Previously, Buckeye Lake Police Captain James Hanzey said the New Albany dispatcher informed him Jan. 12 that Petrey had an argument with his girlfriend while sitting in a Tim Horton’s parking lot near the I-70 Brice Road exit. The dispatcher said Petrey had been drinking and placed a gun toward his head. However, Hanzey called Petrey, who said he disagreed with the dispatcher’s assessment.

Later Jan. 12, the Licking County Sheriff’s Department informed Hanzey and Small that Petrey was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and transported to the New Albany Police Department. Hanzey and Small met with Petrey at the New Albany department where Petrey said he drank a couple of beers, but breath tested below the legal limit and the patrolman who stopped him did not follow all procedures the law requires.

However, the New Albany Police Department moved forward with the inducing panic and weapons under disability charges. Hanzey said he interviewed Petrey’s girlfriend, who said she and Petrey were having an argument and when she entered Petrey’s car she said he had a beer in his hand and a gun in his lap. She said Petrey eventually told her to leave the vehicle. As she did, she said he brought the gun to the side of his head, but she couldn’t say he placed the gun to his head, nor did she hear him say anything about committing suicide. She said Petrey had never hurt her and she didn’t believe he would hurt himself.

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