Middletown fire chief suspended for 5 days after alcohol allegation

Middletown’s fire chief was suspended five days without pay following an OVI charge two weeks ago, city officials announced Tuesday.

Paul Lolli, who earlier was placed on paid administrative leave during the city’s internal investigation, has returned to work and will serve his five-day suspension later, said Law Director Les Landen.

The 25-year veteran of the Middletown Division of Fire will be terminated if he receives another alcohol-related offense — either on or off duty — within the next two years, Landen said.

He also will be evaluated by the city’s employee assistance program to see if he has any “alcohol issues,” Landen said.

Landen said he and City Manager Doug Adkins read the report from the State Highway Patrol and watched the cruiser camera video before deciding Lolli’s punishment.

Lolli and his Middletown attorney Paris Ellis didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Lolli, 55, was stopped at 1:26 a.m. Dec. 16 by the State Highway Patrol and charged with OVI and speeding. He was driving 44 miles per hour in a posted 35 mph zone near Central Avenue and Arcadia Drive, according to the OSHP police report. Lolli refused to take a field sobriety test, the report said.

In the cruiser camera video that was released, Lolli told a trooper: “I’m a block away. … I’m the fire chief of Middletown, man, man, I’m sorry.”

Lolli told the trooper he drank two beers, but said he couldn’t complete a field sobriety test. He also refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He was arrested on suspicion of OVI and was released to a relative. He is due in Middletown Municipal Court Jan. 24.

An outside prosecutor will be hired to handle the case, according to Landen.

Lolli’s salary last year was $107,973, according to city records. He has no prior disciplinary issues in his personnel file, according to Landen.

Lolli, who was hired as fire chief last year, is scheduled to have his pretrial hearing Jan. 24 in Middletown Municipal Court. An outside prosecutor will be hired to handle the case, according to Landen.

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