NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Newton Falls Police Chief Gene Fixler is coming to Trumbull County Sheriff’s Deputy Dallas Young’s defense following his firing.
It has been one week since Young, a 24-year veteran of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, was fired. Recently, Young’s firing was found to be tied to a deadly crash in Portage County.
He has been hired as a part-time officer at the Newton Falls Police Department, and Chief Fixler is now speaking out about why he hired Young.
“He was a very well respected deputy, not only in Newton Township and the city of Newton Falls, but throughout this whole county. He was very well respected and a very good officer,” Chief Fixler said.
Chief Fixler says he was there on Dec. 2 when officials say Young made contact with Michael Haehner at the Duchess BP station on State Route 5.
Investigators say shortly after that, Haehner caused an accident that killed both himself and another driver. Toxicology tests found fentanyl in his bloodstream.
“I was there and I will say that the man that was driving this car exhibited no signs of any impairment at the time that we were with him,” Chief Fixler said.
Chief Fixler himself has questions about what he calls a “significant time gap” between when Haehner drove off from the BP station until the time of the crash.
“During that time of the… we feel that he either stopped and bought drugs, ingested drugs and this was the cause after the fact. But it’s part of the investigation so therefore I’m really not going to talk about it,” Chief Fixler said.
Officials with the Sheriff’s Office declined to speak on camera, but in records we obtained, they say Young violated uniform standards of conduct by failing to thoroughly investigate a call for service and determine Haehner’s degree of impairment.
“If he would have been exhibiting any overt signs of being impaired, believe me, nobody would have let him leave there,” Chief Fixler said.