Man pleads guilty to 12th OVI

By Glenn Battishill - [email protected]

A Columbus man admitted in Delaware County Common Pleas Thursday that he was driving under the influence when he was stopped by state troopers on April 30 and charged with his 12th OVI.

Robert Lee Ellis, 49, was in court Thursday morning and pleaded guilty to one charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a third-degree felony, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Ellis originally had pleaded not guilty.

As part of the agreement, another OVI felony was dismissed, along with a misdemeanor charge for driving under OVI suspension.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley explained the constitutional rights that Ellis would be forfeiting by pleading guilty and asked him to elaborate on what he did that led the charges to be filed against him.

“I was driving intoxicated,” Ellis told Gormley.

Gormley accepted the guilty plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Gormley then scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Gormley said the OVI felony carries a mandatory penalty of 120 days in prison but added that he can sentence Ellis to up to 36 months in prison for the charge. Gormley said there is also a mandatory fine of at least $1,350 but it could go up to $10,500.

In addition to the fine and jail time, Gormley said Ellis is facing a driver’s licence suspension of between three years and the rest of his life.

Gormley then detailed Ellis’ prior OVI convictions which included convictions in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2008, misdemeanor convictions in Franklin Municipal Court in 2007, twice in 2001, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1986, twice in 1985 and one conviction misdemeanor in Madison Municipal Court in 1987.

Ellis was stopped on April 30 by troopers from the Delaware post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in the Polaris Parkway area of Interstate 71. Troopers reported that Ellis had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.

A breath test revealed that Ellis had a blood-alcohol content of .215, more than twice Ohio’s legal limit of .08. He was then taken into custody.

He was indicted on May 6 and has been in the jail since his arrest.

Ellis was in the Delaware County jail Thursday, awaiting his sentencing hearing.

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.