Passenger: Trooper said I was driving

Dressed as a German bar maid, 27-year-old Melissa Bubash slept in the passenger seat of a truck while a man wearing old western duds drove them along Ohio 13.
Sandusky Register Staff
Nov 1, 2011

Dressed as a German bar maid, 27-year-old Melissa Bubash slept in the passenger seat of a truck while a man wearing old western duds drove them along Ohio 13.

She knew him only as "Eric," she said, and the two were on their way home from a Halloween party, where he played the role of an Old West bartender.

The Cincinnati resident was startled awake when the truck slammed into a tree and settled in a neighbor's yard. The next thing she knew, she said, the man was telling deputies she was the driver.

The crash also roused a nearby resident from her sleep. The woman who called 911 found off-duty Ohio State Patrol Trooper Eric Wlodarsky wandering around, according to police. The resident handed Wlodarsky the phone.

"My girlfriend's driving," Wlodarsky told a sheriff's dispatcher.

It was the second thing he said after giving the dispatcher his name. (Hear the 911 call in a previous story here.)

Before hanging up, Wlodarsky asked dispatch to send troopers to the scene.

But Erie County Sheriff's deputies were already en route and got to the 10500 block of Ohio 13 first.

 Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Nickolas Kotsopoulos didn't buy Wlodarsky's story. In fact the off-duty trooper initially admitted he was the driver, according to a sheriff's report.

When Kotsopoulos pulled up and got out of his cruiser, Wlodarsky recognized him and seemed relieved -- the two were apparently acquainted.

"Hey Nick, are you going to handle this?" Wlodarsky asked the deputy. "What are you going to do?"

Kotsopoulos's answer was brief.

"I told him I was going to investigate this crash as I would any other crash," the deputy wrote in his report. "I could smell a strong odor of intoxicating beverages on Wlodarsky's breath."

After finding that neither passenger suffered injuries, the deputy checked the mangled vehicle. The gas tank was ruptured, the back bumper torn off and one of the back tires was missing.

He then returned his focus to the two costumed and displaced passengers. That's when Wlodarsky changed his story. He told Kotsopoulos that Bubash was driving, saying he'd initially lied to protect her.

"I told Wlodarsky that contradicted what he originally told me," the deputy wrote. "He then told me that he only said he was driving because Bubash was a nurse and she didn't want to lose her nursing license. Bubash was silent but looked at Wlodarsky in disbelief."

Cornered by Kotsopoulos on one side and Bubash on the other, Wlodarsky made an apparent pass at the deputy's integrity.

"Can't we just say she was driving?" he whispered to deputy, according to the report.

Kotsopoulos recoiled.

"I told him absolutely not," wrote the deputy. "I want the truth."

Kotsopoulos led Bubash away from Wlodarsky for a chat. She said she wasn't driving -- she'd only known "Eric" for about a month and "refused to lie for him."

But Wlodarsky kept up the charade -- even while changing his story for a third time.

"I'll take the hit for it," he told the deputy. The partial confession didn't satisfy Kotsopoulos.

"I told Wlodarsky I was only going to accept the truth -- him saying he would take the hit for it is not an answer," Kotsopoulos wrote in his report.

Finally he admitted to driving -- this time in front of another deputy, the sheriff's report states. With that question settled, the deputy moved his attention to the truck.

Inside the 2003 black Ford, he and found an assortment of empty beer bottles, a wine bottle and a loaded Glock 27 handgun.

But Kotsopoulos wasn't done documenting discoveries.

The sheriff's report stated Wlodarsky's performance on field sobriety tests along with a portable breath test result showed he was legally drunk. In fact, his percent blood alcohol concentration was 0.154 -- nearly twice Ohio's legal limit of 0.08 -- on scene. He also seemed unsteady on his feet and couldn't balance on one leg.

Before taking the breath test and failing field sobriety tests, however, Wlodarsky is accused of trying one more time to get out of the drunken driving charge. According to the report, Wlodarsky asked Kotsopoulos if they could just chalk the crash up as failure to control, and leave it at that.

The deputy refused and continued the investigation.

Although Bubash said Monday that she's forgiven Wlodarsky, she wasn't sure if he'd get another date.

"I was initially pretty upset about it," Bubash said about being tagged as the driver. "But in hindsight, now I understand he was pretty panicked."

Wlodarsky has been charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence, failure to control and possessing a weapon while intoxicated.

He's been placed on desk duty and relieved of his duty weapon, badge, and cruiser, pending an administrative investigation into the incident, Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston said.

"The investigation is going to move forward swiftly," Ralston said.

Wlodarsky was scheduled for an arraignment in Erie County Municipal Court on Monday morning but obtained an attorney, who postponed the hearing.

He did not return a call seeking Monday, nor did his attorney, Ben Chapman.

What was the KKK prank?

Eric Wlodarsky first made headlines three years ago for taking a picture of a fellow trooper dressed in Ku Klux Klan-like garb while on duty the day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In 2008, then Sandusky post Sgt. Eric Wlodarsky and Trooper Craig Franklin were disciplined after Franklin dressed up in Ku Klux Klan-like garb and Wlodarsky took his picture.

The two were on-duty the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day and said they modeled Franklin's costume after a Dave Chapelle skit as a joke.

Wlodarsky sent the picture on with his cell phone to another trooper.

Former Gov. Ted Strickland called for both men to be fired, but they contested the terminations.

Eventually, an arbitrator reinstated both men to their jobs under two-year last-chance agreements.

Under those agreements, they had to be model troopers.

Wlodarsky was demoted, transferred to another post and was ordered to undergo diversity counseling.

Wlodarsky's current post is in Milan, patrolling the turnpike.

 

Comments

44870-ish

What a Delta Bravo!!!

 

Centauri

man wearing old western duds drove them along Ohio 13.

I would have liked to have seen a photo of Wlodarsky dressed in old western duds

Julie R.

Although Bubash said Monday that she's forgiven Wlordarsky, she wasn't sure if he would get another date.

I had to read that twice ---- I thought I read it wrong. The problems this guy is facing, does she really think getting another date with her is going to be at the top of his priority list?

nobodycares

getting another date are the least of his problems............i would have like to seen a pic of the bar maid outfit.............dont worry when he gets fired he will be paid by obama on unemployment for years !!

2cents
  Hmm! I have a civilian friend that was charged with 2 felonies and 3 misdemeanors with no priors other than a speeding ticket 30 years ago for the same thing, he did not he have an accident, nor lie about anything. I will be curious to see what this Delta Bravo, LMAO gets charged with! If anything less, then this civilian will lose a great deal of respect for the legal system and just figure he can expect the good old boy syndrome when dealing with LE in the future. Eyes and ears will be focused here.

Just saying!

SMF1

I say thanks to Deputy Kotsopoulos for doing his job and not going along with the cockamame story of the trooper. And to Bubash, keep on walkin'. A guy worth staying with doesn't drive you home drunk and doesn't try to throw you under the bus when he gets caught.

Perkins2060

Someone help me out here.  Isn't what he did something like obstructing official business? I'm no lawyer or no cop, but it sure sounds like obstruction to me.  Anyone out there know?  If so, why wasn't he charged with it?

Matt Easterhold

Register loves trashing public employees, I think they get wet dreams just thinking about it.

ReallyGood

"She knew him only as Eric and the two were on their way home." That first line there doesn't add much to her character. After a month she trusts him enough to A. go home with him and B. drive her while he was drunk. And she is a nurse...come on. Use your head next time. And for Wlodarsky, well well well...enough said. Hopefully he doesn't work another day in law enforcement. Thanks to the deputy responding. There ARE good cops out there

El Guapo

@nobodycares, must you repubs drag Obama into this.   Your quote "dont worry when he gets fired he will be paid by obama on unemployment for years !!" is all BS anyway.  

 From  Job & Family Services Unemployment Compensation FAQ's:  An applicant's unemployment must not be his/her fault. If discharged from a job, the applicant may be considered not eligible for benefits -- if the employer shows why the discharge was for "just cause."       With his charges and the charges obviously being his fault, he will not qualify for unemployment.  Blame something else on Obama like solar flares or whatever next right wing conspiracy it will be.   Most of the right dislike Obama for things that are not even true ex: birthers, the lie that he gave a Brazil Oil Company 2 milion to drill for oil, he will take away your firearms etc....    He, like any of 99.9 % of our politicians do plenty enough wrong that you have no need to make crap up, example, the bailouts, free trade with Columbia, South Korea etc...R

Good 2 B Me

I have to wonder how many other incidents have been "Covered up" by the Troopers. Being that he ask for them to report to the scene, he obviously had a plan of them making sure that he was not going to get caught for DUI of the Gun.

The spped at which he ask for them to report makes me believe that maybe there needs to be some kind of rule that makes sure that another agency needs to attned the scene for an officer in an accident. Maybe this will help SOME with the corruption.

Maybe

Richard Cranium

Yes, it is apparent Matt W. and the rest of the Santown Register  hate public employees, especially the law enforcement sector. Usually we don't see detailed reports on ANYTHING unless it's a law enforcement official. To be fair, Matt should put all detailed DUI reports on the front page. I will bet the majority of them sound like Wlodarsky's. (except the professional courtesy part)

Mrs. Smith

Wow, she's known him about a month, doesn't know his last name, leaves a party with him, falls asleep on the way home, he's apparently intoxicated, boy, this could have ended so much worse than it did. 

Ms. Bubash, thank your lucky stars you did walk away from this.  Go find a nice guy that won't put your life in danger, or throw you under the bus.    

ReallyGood

I agree completely. However, him and Casey Anthony would probably make a good couple.

planb

@ Richard Cranium & Matt Easterhold:

I tend to agree. I'm thinking their follow-up report on the story wasn't filled with enough juicy gossip, so they had to put their own spin on it. There is really no "new news" in this article, except for what they were dressed up as for halloween, and a brief quote from Ms. Ralston. The rest, an 8th grader could have figured out from the Deputy's report and old articles already in print.

This man made a terrible mistake and used even worse judgement. He will pay for the consequences of his actions. Maybe not to everyones liking, but he will face reprocussions.

With that being said, our local officers and departments have taken a heavy hit recently involving numerous disciplines, scrutiny, and the media reports. Perhaps this is long overdue in efforts to weed out the bad apples and that's why almost every day you read the paper to see an officer in hot water. But I hope everyone keeps in mind that there are officers that try to do the right thing and are committed to the communities they serve, including one recently who lost his life doing just that. To have a negative opinion of all of them is really not fair to the ones trying to make a positive difference. Just a thought. 

czechurself

To be an officer of the law requires benevolence.  Any member of this community who is deamed defiant risks reprocussions for misbeahaving. 

It is naturally assumed that a person who takes an oath to serve and protect its citizens will have respect for authority and will conform to what is expected just as it is reasonable for the members of the community it serves. 

It is the responsiblity of these officers of the law to uphold and to conform to the standards of the law just as it the responsibility of the constituents they represent . 

If an officer of the law is found negligent of these duties certainly they do not deserve any less scrutiny for their actions.   

Certainly there are many men and woman who represent  this community with pride and true benevolence.  I am sure that it is an embarrassment to those departments they represent  when one of their own is found to be negligent in behavior or conduct unbecoming to themselves. However, the community as a whole suffers from embarrassment as well.  (Consider when Wlodarsky brought national attention to our community for his KKK gag).

It was comforting to know that Wlodarsky was not regarded as above these standards and that Deputy K does have commendable integrity.  He is another refreshing example to our community that there are those that do exist in law enforcement that represent  true merit and praise.  He deserves admiration from all of his colleagues.

With that said, the Registers follow up story shouldnt be seen as an attempt to smear the reputation of yet another officials attempt at abuse of power and lack of judgement; but instead simply drew attention to the distinctive difference in moral and ethical qualities of these two officers.    

Tool Shed

With his lack of integrity, I'm not so sure he should be even allowed to be pushing a pencil at this time.  There are legal documents that he could be changing or messing with.  He needs to be on unpaid leave because there is no chance in heII he is going to be working as a Troop after the chips fall on this one.  He has disgraced the intregity of Troopers all over Ohio.  We now ask ourselves, the next time a Trooper pulls us over, will he/she be honest and fair?  I can't answer that right now because until today I thought all of the OSP was honest and had integrity.  NOT ANYMORE!  This really gives OSP a black eye.  If he keeps his job, I will for sure VOTE YES ON ISSUE 2.

czechurself

Wlodarsky is a real piece of work.  He has no respect for the process of the law and tried to use his position to get himself a break and leave the "girlfriend" holding the bag.  He was wiliing to let her be charged and smear her driving record as well as defame her character for driving under the influence and  putting peoples lives at risk.   Twice he tried to convince authorities to pin the wrap on her, right as she stood next to him!   Takes arrogance to a new level!  And she's not sure if he will get another date?!  Good grief, Bubash!!  On the second date you still dont know his last name?!!!  What kind of "dates" are these?  Have some respect for YOURSELF woman! 

On the brighter side, Sheriff Deputy Nicholas Kotsopoulos had great integrity and diligence in extracting the truth!  Thank you for your service to our community! 

Kelly

I don't see this story as bashing the police at all. It shows the responding officers did the right thing & didn't let a drunk off the hook just because he's a fellow officer.

donutshopguy

 This article gives us the good and bad of LE.

First, intergity, honesty and truth with the sheriff department.

Second, lying,double standards and egos with the state patrol.

 

Annoying squirrel

 Second: lying, double standards and egos with ERIC WLODARSKY, not the state patrol. 

ReallyGood

No, I believe he had it right with : Second, lying, double standards, and egos with the State Patrol

Marcus M

"She was sleeping" or was she distracting him?  If he is found gulity of these facts, this guy should not be in law enforcement, clearly not a happy ending.....

I Judge you
frizzlefrap

happy halloween!

Julie R.

Halloween certainly is becoming a bad omen in Erie County. First, the drunken hayride that tips over and all the drunks go flying into the cornfield........and now the drunk State Trooper wearing western old duds and his "German bar maid" girlfriend, that's been dating him for a month but doesn't even know his last name, go crashing into a tree.  (sorry, but you just can't help but laugh at some of this stuff)

friend

 He threw away an $82g / year job for some drinks.  Wow.

 

Don't believe me?  Look it up www.buckeyeinstitute.org  He's the only Wlodarsky on there.

redclownnose2003

As i read the postings on this article and the original article from yesterday, I see where all the blame is placed specifically on this trooper.  Granted, he did an idiotic act and will no doubt suffer some type of consequences.  Everyone needs to take a look at the overall picture.  Most drunk drivers are repeat offenders. A large portion of the blame in regards to drunk driving needs to be directed to the the court system.  The judges should not allow DUI charges to be reduced to reckless operation or another lesser charge as the attorneys request.  I personally know an individual that had 3 DUI charges reduced and now has 2 actual DUI charges on their record.  The judges and the attorneys need to let the original charges filed by LE stand for the court case.  I understand that this is not particularly in relationship to the story  but still needs to be considered.

PaulYall

Hey Melissa Bubash!!!   His last name is "WLODARSKY"       ERIC..... W-L-O-D-A-R-S-K-Y     Look him up under  the white pages under,   W-L-O-D-A-R-S-K-Y      "ERIC WLODARSKY"    LMAO

gilamonster
TOOLSHED, exactly what I was thinking. Drinking and driving is one mistake, lying about who was driving and requesting your buddies at the patrol take care of it is another. Clearly he has compromised morals, is this the type of idiot you want pulling you over? If he is willing to lie to save his own @$$, that speaks volumes. Makes you wonder how often he may have falsified documents, or lied before, It also makes you wonder if the good ‘ol boy system is in place; they look out for each other and or their friends. Pure lack of ethics and integrity. I can’t believe anyone could defend those actions as “ He just made a mistake.”   Thanks SR; keeping bringing these idiots to the forefront so they can be weeded out. You get a star for that, it now puts you one step above Charmin in my book.

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