A grand jury will consider the case of a former Hamilton police sergeant charged in September with vandalism and driving while under the influence following a crash.
Casey N. Johnson, 40, was charged with felony vandalism shortly before midnight Sept. 16 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 and going left of center in connection with the crash.
Johnson waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday in Butler County Area I Court and all three charges were sent to a Butler County grand jury for consideration, according to his attorney Lawrence Hawkins III. Johnson is free on his own recognizance.
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 of unbecoming an officer and conformance to laws.
Bucheit said he determined, based on the internal investigation, that the allegations are “founded.”
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. 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.
“He began kicking the inside of the passenger door. A (deputy) saw the suspect kicking the car he made the suspect get out of the vehicle. After the investigation of the crash was completed, the suspect was arrested. While placing the suspect back into the vehicle, (a deputy) noticed the door handle was broken off. The parts from the door handle were laying on the floor,” according to the incident report.
Johnson also was involved in an altercation in 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.
Ross Twp. Police Chief Burt Roberts said the other person involved in the altercation did not want to press charges.
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.
At the crash scene, deputies determined Johnson was intoxicated, alcoholic beverages were found in his vehicle and the other driver reported his was intoxicated, according to the report conducted by Lt. Pat Erb and Sgt. Mark Hayes.
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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