Ohio Highway Patrol on Aug. 12 filed charges of loss of physical control while under the influence and failing to report an accident against Trumbull County 911 Director Ernest Cook in connection with a July 14, 2018 incident involving his Ford Mustang and a skateboarder near Cook’s home in Brookfield.
Cook’s attorney, Robert Kokor, filed a written plea of not guilty to the charges in Trumbull County Eastern District Court, Brookfield. A voicemail message left for Cook was not immediately returned.
Cook is free on his own recognizance.
The skateboarder, Michael A. Ischo, who was then 17, was eastbound at about 10:30 p.m.on Sunnydell Drive, attempting to turn right onto Crestwood Drive, when he realized he could not make the turn without running into Cook’s Mustang, police said.
Ischo jumped off the board and was running when his body hit the driver’s side tire and rolled down the car, police said.
Ischo was taken to a hospital for treatment of a leg injury, police said.
Brookfield police, who responded to the scene before Ohio Highway Patrol and were informed by Ischo’s father that Cook was driving the car, went to Cook’s home at 714 Wildwood Drive, Brookfield, police said.
Brookfield police said Cook “smelled strongly of alcohol, slurred his speech significantly and appeared highly intoxicated,” and said they watched him to make sure he did not consume more alcohol.
Cook told Ohio Highway Patrol he did not know he had struck a pedestrian, and thought it might have been a dog, police said. He was on his way home when he felt a bump, and continued home, police said.
Police said Cook told them his son, Ernest Cook Jr., was following him, “witnessed the incident,” and stopped at the scene to see what happened.
Cook said he drank two beers once he got home and had not drunk any alcohol prior to the crash, police said.
Cook underwent field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, police said.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the prosecution.
A pretrial hearing has been set for Sept. 17.