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Intoxicated Man Fatally Struck by Car After Police Drop Him Off--and Cops Face Charges


(TheBlaze/AP) -- Authorities in central Ohio say three law enforcement officers face charges in the death of an allegedly drunk man they dropped off at a Taco Bell.

Two Delaware County deputies and an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper are cited for a misdemeanor count of failing “to prevent or halt the commission of an offense or to apprehend an offender, when it is in the law-enforcement officer’s power to do so alone or with available assistance.”

The Columbus Dispatch explains:

Deputies Derek Beggs, 29, and Christopher Hughes, 27, had found 22-year-old Uriel Juarez Popoca drunk in his truck in an I-71 median in Delaware County on July 28.

The deputies did not arrest Popoca, although one of them said he was intoxicated, according to a cruiser video released Aug. 31 by the patrol. Trooper Sean Carpenter, 37, who arrived at the scene shortly after the deputies, also did not arrest Popoca.

Instead, Beggs and Hughes drove Popoca, who was a native of Mexico, to the Taco Bell on Rt. 36/37 and left him there because “they gotta have someone in there who can interpret,” one of the deputies said in the video.

The three decided that the best way to handle the situation would be to have Popoca call someone to pick him up. Popoca did not have a driver’s license.  [Emphasis added]

The man was not driving when spotted by police, according to reports, but sitting in his car.

ABC10 has more, including clips from the police cruiser:

Apparently Taco Bell's store manager made several 911 calls about Popoca's behavior, and roughly an hour after he was dropped off, a man called 911 to report he accidentally hit Popoca with his car.

Apparently Popoca was walking along the side of the road, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Columbus Dispatch has the latest:

Lt. Anne Ralston, a spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol, said Carpenter has been placed on administrative duties and is working out of the district headquarters in Columbus.

“That means no badge, no gun, no uniform, no ID card, no car,” Ralston said.

Jennifer Jarrell, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Beggs and Hughes remain on paid leave.

Carpenter, Beggs and Hughes are scheduled to appear in Delaware County Municipal Court on Sept. 26.


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