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Cops and Courts

Elyria man charged in connection with car crash into a house


    Collin Lester



ELYRIA — An Elyria man faces several misdemeanor criminal charges after allegedly crashing his vehicle into a house earlier this month, driving across lawns and curb lawns and running down a decorative light pole while intoxicated.

Collin Lester, 24, 100 block Santa Fe Court, is charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident, both first-degree misdemeanors, obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor, failure to maintain reasonable control, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, all minor misdemeanors.

Lester posted $3,500 bond after his arraignment Jan. 22 in Elyria Municipal Court, according to Lorain County Jail booking records.

At 11:56 p.m. Jan. 19, Elyria police officers responded to the 100 block of Highland Park Drive for a report of a maroon Pontiac Grand Prix that struck a house then left the scene. They found the car parked a block away in the 100 block of Santa Fe Court, and began searching for the driver, according to a police report.

The residents of the house that was struck reported hearing and feeling “a loud crash” at the front of their residence, and saw the suspect vehicle in their front yard, having struck the exterior wall of their attached garage, according to the police report. The car then reversed past the couple, almost hitting the wife, drove across the front lawn, through the driveway, onto the street and south on Highland Park Drive, the report stated.

The driver, a man in his 20s with brown hair and a short brown beard, “was smoking a cigarette and appeared to be highly intoxicated,” the witnesses said. Other witnesses identified the car as belonging to Lester, and when officers went to his house they found him “watching officers from the inside of the residence,” the report stated.

One of the victims whose house was struck identified Lester as the suspect, police said. Another officer found a downed decorative light pole on Carol Lane that appeared to have been struck, and followed tire tracks from there to the Highland Park Drive scene, police said.

A Carol Lane resident showed officers video footage showing the Pontiac hitting the light pole and driving onto the curb lawn before heading toward Highland Court, according to the report.

Officers who examined the 2003 Pontiac saw an open 20-ounce Samuel Adams beer bottle on the passenger-side floorboard, and smelled the odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle, according to the report. There also was fresh, heavy front-end and passenger-side damage to the vehicle, a cracked windshield and roof damage, according to the report.

Officers found Lester at his home, but he refused to come outside. About 45 minutes later, Lester called Elyria police dispatch and reported his Pontiac stolen, according to the police report.

Three officers went back to Lester’s Santa Fe Court home to speak with him, but he refused to come out, “started yelling profanities through the window” and was “uncooperative and belligerent” toward them, according to the report.

As officers prepared to leave, Lester finally emerged. He smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet, according to the police report. He was handcuffed and the keys to the Pontiac were found in his pocket, police said.

At the Elyria Police Department, Lester refused a breath test and was booked and taken to Lorain County Jail pending arraignment, police said.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’ Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.
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