Local 12 Investigates: Lawmaker facing OVI & gun charge has dozen traffic citations
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - New records from Ohio's BMV revealed a local lawmaker had a long list of traffic tickets and accidents before he was arrested Sunday morning, March 12, on drunk driving and weapon charges.
Representative Wes Retherford's driving record was filled with a dozen traffic citations and seven crashes in the past 16 years. Local 12 News received the report after an open records request to Ohio's Bureau of Motor Vehicles. None of the citations came close to the charges the elected lawmaker now faces.
A call to 911 from a customer at a McDonald's in Fairfield Township at just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday was disturbing. Representative Retherford appeared to be passed out in his truck. He was arrested for DUI and a felony weapons charge.
The arrest report stated Retherford "appeared to be confused" and that a loaded "Glock model 23" was located under the armrest of his truck. Retherford hung his head during Monday's arraignment, March 13. Records from Ohio's BMV revealed a long list of traffic trouble for the state lawmaker.
Twelve traffic tickets in the past 16 years, including eight speeding tickets. The most recent citations were issued in 2014 for going 86 mph in a 65 mph zone in Fairborn and 97 mph in a 70 mph zone in Franklin County. Retherford was also cited twice for not wearing his seat belt and the representative has had more than a few accidents as well. Seven of them were from 2000 to to 2011.
Still, nowhere in Retherford's report was there a citation for drinking and driving, until now.
Wednesday, March 15, after missing a committee hearing, Retherford issued a statement saying he will be absent from the Ohio House of Representatives the week of March 13.
He wrote, "Out of respect for my family, I humbly ask for space and privacy as we move forward on this personal matter." Local 12 News chose to respect the lawmaker's wishes and did not press for any answers Wednesday.
Wednesday night, the Butler County Republican party asked for Wes Retherford's resignation. Butler County party Chari Todd Hall confirmed to Local 12 he asked for Retherford to step down. The party did not endorse Retherford when he ran for re-election in 2016.
Representative Retherford was expected to appear at a hearing in Butler County court Wednesday afternoon, but that hearing was moved to Wednesday, March 22. Local 12 news will be there and have it covered.