Ex-officer avoids jail from DUI conviction

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — A former area police officer on Wednesday escaped jail time for a second drunk driving charge.

Randy L. Schneider 29, Bell School Road, East Liverpool, was sentenced to house arrest for nine months, with work privileges, and fined $1,440, including court costs, for the second DUI offense. He received 80 hours of community service plus court costs for his reckless driving charge, and a $50 fine plus court costs for the lane violation of driving left of center.

Schneider was found guilty of DUI (second offense), reckless driving and driving left of center by a Hancock County Magistrate Court jury on June 7. The combined maximum possible sentence Schneider could have received was 15 months in jail and a $3,600 fine.

Schneider wrecked while driving on state Route 2 through Newell at 3:50 a.m. Nov. 23, 2017. Schneider’s Jeep Liberty crossed the centerline and went off the road, crashing into a utility pole. Witnesses at trial testified it took emergency personnel 30 minutes to extract Schneider from his SUV before he could be flown by helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital. He suffered a broken hip and arm.

Tests showed Schneider had a blood alcohol level of .249, three times the legal limit of .08.

Schneider pleaded not guilty, saying he fell asleep behind the wheel. After a two-day trial he was found guilty of all three misdemeanors. Magistrate William Hicks issued Schneider’s sentence.

Joe Ludovici, Schneider’s attorney, filed for alternative sentencing to prevent a jail sentence from interfering with his employment status as a staff sergeant with the Air Force Reserves. Ludovici requested house arrest instead of jail time and suggested community service if the court felt it was needed.

Hancock County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jack Wood recommended jail time of six months or house arrest for a year for the second DUI charge, 10 days of community service for the reckless operation, and the minimal fine for the lane violation.

“It sounds like Mr. Schneider is trying to do the things he needs to, to get better,” said Wood. “[My recommendations are] to keep him on the path he’s started on to get better.”

“I would like to apologize to the state of West Virginia for my poor decisions,” said Schneider. “I was grateful I was the only one who got hurt that night. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel guilt for what I’ve done.”

At the time of his 2017 accident, Schneider was a part-time officer with the Liverpool Township Police Department and volunteer firefighter with the Calcutta Fire Department. He was also a part-time dispatcher with the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, which terminated Schneider’s employment following his arrest. He continues to work as a part-time dispatcher with the East Liverpool Police Department and is still a volunteer firefighter with Calcutta, but is no longer employed with Liverpool Township.

Schneider also works as the marketing coordinator at Numbers Brewery in Lisbon. While out on bond awaiting trial, Schneider was still allowed to sample products for his job with Numbers Brewery, but after his conviction he is not allowed to purchase, own or consume alcohol.

Schneider has the right to appeal the charges within 20 days if he feels there was an error with the proceeding of his trail. He will also be wearing a SCRAM bracelet which which will monitor him for alcohol use, and a house arrest bracelet during his house arrest and reporting to the Hancock County Probation Office.

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