MEDINA — Medina Township police Officer Cliff Nicholson pleaded not guilty Friday to a single charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired in Medina Municipal Court.
Nicholson, 42, was in court Friday morning with his attorney, David C. Sheldon, following an arrest on St. Patrick’s Day by Medina police.
Medina police were dispatched to the 900 block of Beechwood Drive for a driver slumped over the wheel of his car at 10:53 p.m. Sunday, according to a police report.
When police arrived, the driver was identified as Nicholson. The keys were in the ignition of the Dodge Challenger, which was stopped in the middle of the street. The car was in drive.
Nicholson refused a Breathalyzer test and would not perform any field sobriety tests. He was taken into custody that night.
According to court records, Nicholson has asked for a speedy trial for the first-degree misdemeanor.
Sheldon said he expects the pretrial hearing to be in about three weeks. He had no other comment on the case.
Nicholson was on sick leave Thursday and Friday, Medina Township Police Chief Travis Colonius said.
In a dash-cam video released Thursday by Medina police, officers knew right away with whom they were dealing.
“It’s Nicholson,” an officer is heard saying on the video. “He’s annihilated.”
Nicholson told the officers he was trying to get home. He said he was not carrying his service weapon.
One of the Medina officers told Nicholson he was passed out in the middle of a roadway.
Colonius said he was “surprised and disappointed” by Nicholson’s actions.
The chief said he expects some type of discipline following the conclusion of the case.
Nicholson has been a member of the Medina Township police force since 2004. He attended Bowling Green State University and graduated from the Toledo Police Academy at Owens College in 2001. While in the academy, he worked as an on-campus security officer and a part-time police officer in Sandusky County.
He is a member of the Medina County SWAT team and holds an oath with the Medina County OVI Task Force and Criminal Interdiction. Nicholson also works with children in the Medina County Police Athletic League. An email left for Nicholson was not returned.