Felony DUIs

Belmont County is logging a notorious mark so far this year for the amount of repeat drunk drivers on our roadways.

At week’s end, the Ohio State Highway Patrol released statistics for statewide stops in which drivers were cited for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Placing only second to Lorain County for the “Top 10 counties for felony OVI cases” was Belmont County, which tied for runner-up with Stark County.

A suspect must have four or more OVI convictions in order to be arrested on a felony OVI charge. Between Jan. 1 of this year and Nov. 30, troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol logged a total of 22 felony OVI cases in Belmont County alone.

Both Lorain and Stark counties house metropolitan areas, including the Greater Cleveland area and communities in and around Canton. They have at least triple the population of Belmont County.

What the numbers don’t show are felony OVI – or DUI, as the offense is also known – arrests made by municipal police agencies. There have been plenty more in Belmont County this year.

This is an embarrassing mark that paints an ugly picture of Belmont County. While it does, however, speak volumes about the fine job our local troopers do to get these repeat offenders off the road, it sheds a terrible light on the dangers that everyday motorists face when they share the local roads with individuals who simply can’t learn their lesson.

With another month’s worth of statistics to go, the county unfortunately has time to record even more felony arrests for drunk driving.

We hope these drivers get the message and receive appropriate punishment.

Through November of this year, state troopers have made nearly 23,000 OVI arrests on Ohio’s roadways. We commend them for their work to keep our roads safe by tackling the apparently monumental task of ridding our roadways of impaired drivers.