Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Elyria
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Lorain County Bar seeks lawyer's suspension

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    Heather Wilsey

    PROVIDED PHOTO

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ELYRIA — The Lorain County Bar Association is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to immediately suspend the law license of an Elyria attorney who tried to avoid a DUI charge by blaming a nonexistent black man because of substance abuse issues.

The request said that Heather Wilsey overdosed on heroin twice late last month and was revived with naloxone, a drug used to counteract the effects of opioid overdoses.

Interim Bar Counsel Lindsey Poprocki wrote that the Bar Association is concerned that Wilsey’s abuse of alcohol and drugs “poses the potential for a substantial threat of serious harm to herself, her clients and the public and currently is or may be unfit to practice law.”

Poprocki also wrote that Wilsey, 27, rejected an offer to accept an interim suspension.

The Bar Association previously filed a complaint against Wilsey and Kenneth Lewis after a June 9 crash in which Wilsey drove a 2012 Acura into a utility pole at East Avenue and Fourth Street. When police arrived, Lewis told them that a black man they had met at the Train Station Bar had been behind the wheel but had run off after the crash.

Wilsey backed up Lewis’ version of events. Police later used surveillance footage to show that Wilsey and Lewis had left the bar alone and that Wilsey had been behind the wheel when the two drove out of the bar’s parking lot.

Wilsey and Lewis, now 43, pleaded no contest to charges of obstructing official business and Wilsey also entered a plea to a charge of failure to maintain physical control as part of a plea agreement that saw the initial DUI charge reduced.

Wilsey also was with Lewis on Sept. 12, when he was charged with DUI after a Brunswick Hills officer caught the couple having sexual relations in the driver’s seat of Lewis’ vehicle after someone called to report a possible drunken driver, the complaint said.

The police report on that incident said the officer found the vehicle parked halfway into the driveway of Lewis’ home and that Lewis and Wilsey initially denied drinking when confronted by the officer before Lewis ultimately confessed to drinking several beers and failed field sobriety tests.

Lewis, who was later determined to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent, well above the legal driving limit of 0.08, and pleaded no contest to a DUI charge in that case.

Poprocki wrote that Wilsey also had a series of alcohol-related cases, including DUI charges, prior to becoming a lawyer in December 2014, but her most concerning behavior had occurred in the waning days of 2016.

Lorain police were called to a Washington Avenue home about 11 p.m. Dec. 23 for a report of a woman overdosing and found Wilsey unconscious on the kitchen floor.

The police report said she was barely breathing and had only a faint pulse. One of the residents told police that Wilsey had a history of using heroin, which prompted officers to administer two doses of naloxone. Emergency medical personnel gave Wilsey a third dose of naloxone when they arrived and took her to the hospital for evaluation.

Wilsey later told police that she had been walking around with a friend and the friend asked her to take her to her boyfriend’s house, which she did. Wilsey said she couldn’t remember anything after that, but was “adamant that she did not do any drugs and stated that she was ‘fine’ and just really tired,” the report said.

Wilsey appeared to overdose again Dec. 24, according to a Lorain police report that said officers were sent to a West Eighth Street home around 11:30 p.m. for a report of an unresponsive woman.

When police arrived, emergency medical personnel told them that they had given the woman, later identified as Wilsey, naloxone and she responded to the medication.

A man who said he had dated Wilsey off and on for years told police that Wilsey appeared to have had a seizure while he was helping her downstairs, but that he hadn’t seen her take any drugs. He also said that he had searched where Wilsey sometimes hid “stuff,” but didn’t find anything.

Wilsey was again taken to the hospital.

Mike Kinlin, Wilsey’s attorney, said his client took a drug test Tuesday and that it came back clean for opioids. Kinlin did acknowledge that opioids don’t remain in the system very long and it takes between two to seven days for detectable amounts of the drugs to be flushed from someone’s body.

“My understanding is there were no drugs found at the scene. I’d ask you not to jump to conclusions,” he said. “She has some prior medical issues that caused her to be unconscious.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.



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