Sheriff says elected leaders not cooperating on DUI arrest case

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Sheriff says elected leaders not cooperating on DUI arrest case

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State Rep. Wes Retherford

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones made explosive charges on a conservative talk radio show that Republican elected officials went to a bar with state Rep. Wes Retherford, who allegedly passed out drunk in a McDonald’s drive-thru, but now those politicos aren’t cooperating with investigators.

On The Bill Cunningham Show Jones said, “We have been trying to reach out to these people, that are elected, and question them. And, hey, nobody has seen nothing, nobody has heard nothing.”

Cunningham said “state representatives” who drank with Retherford failed in their duty to arrange a ride for him.

Retherford is facing drunken driving and weapons charges in Butler County after he was found around 3:30 a.m. in his pickup truck in a McDonald’s drive-thru with a loaded firearm. Police say he was barely able to stand up. Retherford attended the Butler County GOP Lincoln Day dinner and then allegedly went to a nearby bar with others.

“I’m not going to mention names, they know who they are,” Jones said in an interview.

Brad Miller, spokesman for Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, said: “The Speaker would always encourage cooperation with law enforcement, but he is not going to comment on details about an investigation while it is still pending.”

State Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, said that he joined Retherford at the bar but only briefly.

“I spent about 30 minutes with Wes and a small-business owner he asked me to meet. I drank a Diet Coke, had a brief conversation about small business tax policy and went home around 11 p.m. Wes did not appear intoxicated at that time. I gave all of this information to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, which thanked me for assisting them,” Faber said in a written statement.

Jones said that photos of Retherford with elected officials at the Lincoln Day dinner were removed from social media once news of Retherford’s arrest broke.

Faber deleted a tweeted photo showing him with Retherford and four other lawmakers at the dinner.

Two state representatives pictured, Jim Butler of Oakwood and Robert Sprague of Findlay, said they did not go to the bar. 

State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Copley, said when he talked with Retherford at the dinner he did not appear impaired. LaRose, who was not in the photograph, said he left right after dinner ended to drive four hours home.

Retherford has not returned messages left, and issued a statement earlier this week requesting his “space and privacy” as he and his family “move forward on this personal matter.” He also he would not be in Columbus this week.

“I can’t release anything at this point, other than what I said yesterday (on the radio),” Jones said Thursday, referencing his Wednesday interview. “We’re still reaching out to people and it will be soon public information.”

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