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On June 13, 2014 an Elkhart County jury convened in Superior Court 5 convicted Richard Bontrager, age 58, of OWI – endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor. Bontrager pled guilty to battery on a law enforcement officer, a Class A misdemeanor.
On March 24, 2013, Cpl. Dustin Sahlhoff with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department conducted a traffic stop on a truck driving on SR 15 in Elkhart County, Indiana. The driver, Richard Bontrager, admitted to drinking, and after failing the field sobriety test, Cpl. Sahlhoff continued to conduct an Operating While Intoxicated investigation. After refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, Cpl. Sahlhoff began the arrest process. As the responding officers attempted to arrest Bontrager, Bontrager became rude and aggressive, kicking Cpl. Sahlhoff. Over an hour later Bontrager later submitted to a breathalyzer test with a finding of .06 BAC.
The State was able to proceed with an OWI – Endangerment case because Indiana law does not require a BAC of .08 as long as the State can prove intoxication. At trial the State presented testimony and videos of Cpl. Sahlhoff’s investigation to support the claim that the defendant showed signs of intoxication. After reviewing evidence presented at trial, an Elkhart County jury found Bontrager guilty of OWI – endangerment.
This case was tried by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Peter Soldato before Judge Charles Wicks in Superior Court 5.
**** "Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." ****