Wright-Patterson gate crasher sentenced

Edward J. Novak CHUCK HAMLIN /STAFF
Caption
Edward J. Novak CHUCK HAMLIN /STAFF

A federal judge has sentenced a man who pleaded guilty to trespassing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base which caused a major disruption that led to an employee evacuation in two buildings and blocked roads to two years probation.

Edward J. Novak, 32, of Beavercreek, also will have to comply with mental health counseling and alcohol and chemical substance testing as part of the sentence U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Newman imposed Wednesday.

In February, Novak also pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Dayton to operating a vehicle under the influence, and disorderly conduct in the presence of law enforcement in connection with a Nov. 24, 2015 incident. In exchange for his plea, federal charges of charges of assault, making false alarms, inducing panic, failure to comply with a lawful order, and fleeing and eluding a police officer were dropped.

RELATED: WPAFB gate crasher pleads guilty to trespassing, other charges

Cheryll Bennet, a public defender appointed to represent Novak, said an appeal was not planned. “We’re happy with the sentence,” she said after the Wednesday hearing.

Novak, who was not a Wright-Patterson employee or authorized to be on the base, had driven away from Gate 22B near Interstate 675 after a sentry had told him to pull over and wait, authorities have said. In a court appearance in February, assistant U.S. attorney Julienne McCammon said a sentry questioned Novak about his purpose for trying to get on base. Novak told the sentry “it was personal,” McCammon told the judge at the time. “He just needed to speak to leadership.”

Minutes later, Novak entered a door to a restricted access area an employee opened to Building 620, which houses the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate. An AFRL employee eventually stopped and questioned Novak because he was not wearing a security badge and he was turned over to base security forces, officials have said.

The incident caused an hours-long evacuation of employees in two AFRL buildings and a shelter-in-place order at a nearby child care center.

RELATED: Charges filed against suspect in Wright-Patt breach

Police blocked roads on and off the base in Area B while area law enforcement agencies, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Wright-Patterson Fire Department and an Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team responded.

McCammon told the judge in February that as police escorted Novak to a patrol car in handcuffs, “he began to yell inflammatory statements” and was stopped twice. She did not elaborate.

McCammon also said in the prior court appearance that medical tests administered on Novak after he was detained by base security forces detected methamphetamine.

RELATED: Accused Wright-Patt gate runner appears in court

In December, a court-ordered evaluation determined the defendant “did not know the wrongfulness of his actions at the time of the offense in this alleged case.”

Novak has been under court supervision since he was arraigned last year, authorities said.

“He’s pretty much a totally different person,” Kelvin Gover, U.S. pre-trial services officer, told Newman in court before the magistrate imposed the sentence Wednesday.

Wright-Patterson has denied a Freedom of Information Act request from this news organization for records pertaining to the security breach.

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