View body camera footage from Columbus Officer Trier Knieper’s arrest in the video player above.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — All but one charge against a Columbus Division of Police officer were dropped after another agency accused her of drunk street racing at 100 miles per hour.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers arrested CPD Officer Trier Knieper on Jan. 3, after they said she and a friend street raced in separate cars at 100 mph in a 65-mph zone of Interstate 270. A trooper also asked the 27-year-old Columbus officer to take a field sobriety test after he claimed to smell alcohol, body camera video obtained by NBC4 showed.
After going through three separate tests, the trooper arrested Knieper. She later saw three misdemeanor charges in Franklin County Municipal Court:
- Operating a vehicle impaired
- Drag racing or street racing
- Speed per se – Posted freeway
Knieper originally pleaded not guilty to all three charges. In an April 24 docket entry, however, she then changed her plea to guilty to the original speeding charge. On that same day, City Attorney Zach Klein’s office dismissed Knieper’s OVI and street racing charges while continuing to prosecute her 100-mph speeding accusation.
A municipal court clerk told NBC4 that Knieper was ordered that day to pay a $150 fine for the OVI charge. However, presiding Judge James O’Grady clarified to NBC4 that she received the maximum $150 fine for the leftover speeding charge.
A clerical error on the April 24 court records made the fine appear tied to the OVI charge, which the judge said was corrected in an April 27 docket update. With the OVI charge’s dismissal, Knieper saw no impact on her driver’s license.
Knieper’s attorney in March filed a motion to suppress in her case, according to the court record. Ohio law firm Treleven & Klingensmith said this was a strategic move to make the field sobriety test inadmissible in court, which would weaken the OVI charge against her. The court scheduled a hearing for that motion on April 24, but because the prosecutors dismissed the charge Knieper’s lawyer was fighting, O’Grady told NBC4 that the court skipped considering it and instead sentenced for the one charge left.
The Columbus Division of Police had not responded as of noon Wednesday when NBC4 asked if Knieper’s employment status had changed since her case was closed. It did previously confirm that Knieper remained on active duty while she fought the charges in court.
A court case with identical charges against Knieper’s friend, 26-year-old Paige Slyman, remained open as of Wednesday. Slyman entered a plea of no contest or guilty in February, but won’t appear for her sentencing hearing until June 13.
Knieper was the first of four Columbus officers arrested on OVI charges in the beginning months of 2023. Those other officers included:
- Officer Robbie Whitlow, arrested by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on March 13
- Sgt. Melvin Romans, arrested by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on March 12
- Officer Tylor Nixon, arrested by Gahanna police on March 10
While Knieper was allowed to remain on active duty, CPD told NBC4 in the aftermath of those officers’ arrests that all of them lost their guns and badges and were on restricted duty or leave as their cases progressed in court.