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Columbus firefighter suspended following OWI arrest

By Jacob Burbrink,


COLUMBUS, Ind. — A Columbus firefighter faces charges after police say he left the scene of an accident while he was operating under the influence.

The Columbus Fire Department said Nicholas Tuttle faces charges after a traffic stop conducted by the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office. At the time, he was not on duty or operating a department vehicle.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy stopped Tuttle about an hour after a bicyclist was hit at the intersection of East 500 North and North 1150 East. The bicyclist said he was traveling north when a red Chevrolet pickup truck hit him. The truck then turned westbound and took off.

When Deputy Keven Hatchett pulled Tuttle over, the office said he denied any involvement. However, during the investigation, the deputy found broken vehicle parts at the crash scene that corresponded to damage to Tuttle’s truck.

A field sobriety test indicated Tuttle was driving under the influence. The office said a breath test confirmed this, with the rtest coming back with a Breath Alcohol Content of .11.

“Driving under the influence will always be a priority for the Sheriff’s Office,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Chris Lane. “Deputy Hatchett’s persistence and diligent investigation into the alleged offender in this case not only brought resolution to the victim of the collision but also got an alleged drunk driver off the roadway.”

The department confirmed that Tuttle is one of their firefighters. He has been placed on administrative leave while department administration reviews the incident.

“We hold our firefighters to a standard that exemplifies fire service professionalism, public trust and dedication to public safety while on duty and off duty,” said Fire Chief Andy Lay. “This incident will be addressed according to department policy.”

Any recommendations will be forwarded to City of Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety to determine disciplinary action.

For the OWI incident, Tuttle faces charges of driving a motor vehicle under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury. He was transported to the Bartholomew County Jail before being released.

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