Salem driver faces OVI, gun charges

SALEM — A Salem man is facing multiple charges, including three felonies, after nearly striking marked police cruisers trying to stop his vehicle on suspicion of intoxication and then being caught with multiple firearms and ammunition within his reach in the vehicle Sunday night on East State Street.

Clint Wern, 40, of 1419 E. State St., was charged with fourth-degree felonies for operating a vehicle under the influence and failure to comply, a fifth-degree felony for improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle, and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, hit skip/leaving the scene, reckless operation and open container.

Salem Police were enroute to the area of East State Street and Cunningham Road at 9:51 p.m. for a possible intoxicated driver. The caller who notified police had followed the vehicle, a black GMC truck, into the city and said it was all over the road and had almost struck another person’s vehicle.

Officers saw the vehicle cross marked lanes, almost striking a marked police cruiser and initiated a traffic stop in the 2400 block of East State but the vehicle continued westbound, running over the curb and almost striking a utility pole and another police cruiser head-on. Officers were able to stop the vehicle in the 1400 block by pinning it in with police cruisers.

The report said after police gave multiple commands to the suspect, officers breached the passenger window. Multiple firearms and ammunition were observed within reach of the suspect who appeared highly intoxicated. Once officers were able to get the suspect from the vehicle, he was taken into custody.

Wern appeared for video arraignment in Columbiana County Municipal Court on Monday and was released from jail on bond. A preliminary hearing is set for July 1.