Trumbull Co. deputy firing tied to fatal crash in Portage County, records show

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According to the requested records, officials say Young let an impaired man drive away from the scene, and that man later caused a fatal crash

Officials with the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office have confirmed Deputy Dallas Young has been terminated.

(WKBN) – Officials with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office have released more details into the firing of Deputy Dallas Young.

According to records acquired by WKBN, officials say Young violated uniform standards of conduct while responding to a call for a man sleeping in an SUV at a Leavittsburg gas station on Dec 2.

That man, identified as 28-year-old Michael Haehner, of Ravenna, caused a fatal crash that left himself and another driver dead in Portage County later that day.

Records state Young was dispatched to Duchess Shoppe on State Route 5 around 2 p.m. for a driver who flipped off a worker after pulling up to the gas pumps, getting out of the car and starting to walk away.

According to a police report from the Newton Falls Police Department, Newton Falls Police Chief Gene Fixler responded to the call first, thinking it may be a stolen dumped vehicle. When he got there, Fixler told dispatch he found another man, Haehner, sleeping in the passenger seat of the SUV.

While waiting for Young to arrive, the report said Fixler spoke with a store clerk who told him the man in the SUV was “pretty messed up” and almost walked into the gas station windows.

When Young arrived around 2:20 p.m., Fixler assisted him in ordering Haehner out of the vehicle. According to the report, Haehner was steady on his feet, had clear speech and told them he was just sleeping.

The police report said Haehner answered questions without hesitation and seemed like he wasn’t impaired.

Sergeant Stephen Storm then arrived on the scene and Fixler reported seeing a dirty syringe on the ground, about four feet in front of Haehner, the report said. When asked about it, Haehner told investigators it wasn’t his.

The police report said Young, who was wearing gloves, picked up the syringe and placed it in a safe container from his vehicle.

Fixler reported stepping away to answer a text message and saw Haehner drive away. According to the report, Young felt Haehner wasn’t impaired so let him leave with the vehicle.

The complaint against Young says he spent eight minutes waking Haehner up, grabbing gloves and a cigar tube from his vehicle and taking the syringe from the scene without documenting it before Haehner letting go.

Officials said the service call wasn’t thoroughly investigated, and Young violated procedures by improperly disposing of evidence.

Shortly after, Haehner was driving westbound on State Route 82 in Windham Township when he traveled over the center line and into the eastbound lane.

He hit Tammy Bortz, of Windham, who was driving in the eastbound lane, causing her car to overturn.

Both drivers died at the scene and were taken to the Summit County medical examiner’s office.

Toxicology tests found fentanyl in Haehner’s bloodstream during the autopsy.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report, state troopers at the Ravenna Post found out on Dec. 3 that the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office made contact with Haehner just before the crash.

According to the requested records, officials say Young let Haehner drive away from the scene while impaired. Records said Young has taken several courses on narcotics and their use through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation started investigating the incident on March 12.

Young was hired to work in the Trumbull County Jail in February of 1997 and became a deputy 10 years later.

Since then, Newton Falls City Manager David Lynch said Young was hired as a part-time officer at Newton Falls Police Department, per the recommendation of Fixler.

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