HAMILTON — A former Hamilton police sergeant was arraigned Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court on charges stemming from a crash that happened allegedly while he was impaired, and an assault that occurred at a local football game.
Casey N. Johnson, 40, was initially charged with felony vandalism shortly before midnight Sept. 16, 2022 after allegedly damaging a Butler County Sheriff’s Office cruiser at the scene of a crash in Morgan Twp. He was off duty at the time. He is also charged with OVI in connection with the crash.
Last week a Butler County grand jury returned indictments against Johnson for aggravated vehicular assault, a third-degree felony, and OVI and assault, both misdemeanors. He was not indicted on a vandalism charge.
During arraignment, Johnson pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance by Judge Greg Howard. He is scheduled to be back in court for a pretrial hearing on March 22.
Johnson also was involved in an altercation with a girlfriend the parking lot of Ross High School during a high school football game, police said. Johnson left the parking lot driving the Toyota Tundra that was crashed a short time later.
The misdemeanor assault charge pertains to that incident, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser. Police said in September that the other party did not want to press charges. Gmoser said the person is a “reluctant victim” but charges are going forward.
Johnson, who had been a police officer since 2004 and in July was promoted to sergeant, was terminated from his job a couple weeks after the incident. The termination came after a disciplinary hearing in which Police Chief Craig Bucheit found Johnson in violation of the department’s general rules, specifically conduct unbecoming of an officer and conformance to laws.
At the hearing, Johnson was represented by attorney Stephen Lazarus.
“The facts of the case are undisputed and deeply troubling,” Bucheit said in his disciplinary letter.
The injury crash happened about 11 p.m. on that September night in the 5900 block of Cincinnati-Brookville Road when Johnson crossed over the center lane and hit another vehicle head-on that was traveling westbound, according to the crash report.
The woman in the other vehicle was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening.
Johnson was placed in a cruiser during the investigation into the crash, which deputies reported they suspected involved alcohol.
The internal investigation obtained by the Journal-News says Johnson became “voluntarily intoxicated” while tailgating in the parking lot during the first half of the Ross High School football game. At about 8 p.m. he assaulted his girlfriend in the parking lot near the stadium and left when witnesses tried to intervene, reports say.
Johnson’s personnel file contains letters of commendation for his work on the SWAT team and as a K-9 officer where he was part of arrest operations.
In 2010, Johnson received the Preservation of Life Award for stopping a man during his attack of a woman with a claw hammer inside a Hamilton apartment. The suspect was beating the woman in the head, after being told by Johnson to drop the hammer, the man continued the beating. Johnson then shot and killed the suspect, according to police.
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