Montgomery Co. asst. prosecutor’s OVI arrest

Prosecutor makes court appearance as OVI defendant

Defense lawyer questions charges, praises client’s reputation.

UPDATE @ 12:17 p.m. Aug. 18

The Montgomery County assistant prosecutor accused of drunk driving and leaving the scene in eastern Ohio appeared in court Tuesday, but just to reschedule her pre-trial hearing.

Johnna M. Shia was in Belmont County Western Division Court early Tuesday and had her appearance pushed back to Sept. 22, the same day she’s scheduled to appear in Cambridge Municipal Court in Guernsey County.

Shia was arrested July 20 after she told an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper that she’d been drinking for four days at a weekend music festival. The trooper said she did “horrible” on her field sobriety tests.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said Shia, 44, is on medical leave and has not worked since the incident.


Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Johnna M. Shia, arrested July 20 on allegations of drunk-driving and leaving the scene of an accident after “drinking for four days” at a music festival, has a Tuesday court date scheduled in Belmont County.

She also has a court date scheduled Sept. 22 in Cambridge Municipal Court in Guernsey County.

Shia has not worked since the incident and is currently on medical leave, a Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said Friday. Asked about any administrative action after Shia’s previous two drunk-driving arrests in 2006 and 2012, office spokesman Greg Flannagan said: “I can inform you that corrective measures were taken, but I cannot elaborate specifically.”

Flannagan said Friday that a Tuesday request for Shia’s personnel record would not be fulfilled until next week at the earliest. The prosecutor’s office would not answer any additional questions about Shia’s work status.

Shia, 44, of Springboro, has a pretrial hearing Aug. 18 in front of Belmont County Western Division Court Judge Eric Costine. The Sept. 22 court date in Cambridge is scheduled to be in front of Judge John Mark Nicholson.

Shia was arrested and charged on two counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence and OVI second refusal, a charge that results from a person having been charged with a new OVI within 20 years of a first such offense. She also faces a charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Shia’s attorney, Barry Galen, stressed that Shia has no OVI convictions on her record and questioned why the counties would charge her with an OVI second refusal. Galen said Friday afternoon he had not seen the full video of the incident.

An online profile indicates Shia has worked for the prosecutor’s office since 1997 and is assigned to the criminal division, according to the prosecutor’s website.

“She always had a good reputation. That’s one of the reasons I’m representing her,” said Galen, who has squared off as a defense attorney opposite Shia in criminal cases. “She’s been an exemplary employee at the prosecutor’s office.”

A 911 call from a motorist said Shia’s Jeep ran into their automobile at about 3:20 p.m. July 20 and then took off on Interstate 70 in Belmont County. An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper caught up with Shia’s vehicle in Guernsey County.

Cruiser camera footage captures Shia talking to the trooper and being read her rights. The trooper told Shia that he could smell alcohol on her person and that her eyes were bloodshot and glassy.

“I’m shaking right now because I don’t even know what happened,” Shia said. “I’m sweating. I’ve been drinking for four or five days at Jamboree in the Hills.”

Shia told the trooper the damage to her front bumper was already there and that she didn’t remember hitting anybody and repeatedly asked the trooper, “Who are these other people?”

The trooper administered field sobriety tests and Shia complained about her knee hurting. Afterwards, she asked, “How did I do on the tests?” to which the trooper answered: “Horrible.”

The video indicated Shia blew a .124 blood-alcohol level on a portable breath test that cannot be used as evidence in court. The legal limit is .08. Shia, who said she hadn’t been drinking the day of the stop, can be seen repeatedly wiping her eyes and later is handcuffed and placed back in the cruiser after her vehicle had been towed.

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