21 News has learned that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is probing a December 2 incident involving recently-fired Deputy Dallas Young in which Young questioned a motorist and then allowed him to drive shortly before the motorist and another driver were killed in a two-car crash in Windham. The probe has been requested by Trumbull Sheriff Paul Monroe.

"I can confirm that BCI has been asked to investigate this incident," Steve Irwin, bureau press secretary, told 21 News this afternoon.

The investigation centers on Young's release of Michael Haehner of Ravenna to drive his car shortly before Haehner of Ravenna and Tammy Bortz, 54, of Windham, the other motorist, were killed on State Route 82. Toxicology reports released by the Ohio State Patrol showed Haehner, 28, with amounts of fentanyl and morphine in his system at the time of his death.



"I'm extremely disappointed in the common-sense decision that should have been made by Deputy Young in regards to this incident," Monroe told WFMJ Weekend Today Anchor Lindsay McCoy. A message seeking comment from Young has not been returned.

The OSP report, which lists the time of the accident at "14:30" (2:30 p.m.) mentions the deputy's "contact" without naming him "just before the crash occurred," but does not list the time that Young questioned Haehner. Chief Deputy Joseph Dragovich said Young never filed a report about the incident.

According to reports compiled by 21 News from the OSP, the sheriff's office, and Newton Falls Police Chief Gene Fixler, Young had responded to a "service call" at a Braceville service station after employees complained about the actions of two men in a car. Fixler lists a time of "14:01" (2:01 p.m.) as when he first heard the call. The chief wrote he had gone to the service station to observe "until the county unit arrived." At the time, Haehner was a passenger in the vehicle, but the driver had left the vehicle for unexplained reasons and did not return.

Fixler's report quotes an employee of the service station who was concerned about Haehner's conduct. "(T)he male in the passenger's side (Haehner) was pretty messed up" and had nearly walked into the windows of the gas station, the employee told the police chief. However, the chief said Young told another officer Haehner "had clearly responded to questions, without any hesitation, a further indication that he was not impaired." Haehner had also provided his social security number to Young.

Dragovich said that after Young had spoken with Haehner, "our deputy released the motorist to drive the vehicle." A witness later described Haehner's car weaving erratically before crashing into the Bortz vehicle.

In a later interview with 21 News, the sheriff declined to go into specifics about the incident and Young's handling of it. "I cannot go into something that is under investigation," Monroe said. "There is some confidential information at this point that we are unable to provide to the media."

However, critical information about the incident appears in Young's files, one of which is especially important because it blames Young for failing to take action that might have averted the fatal accident that followed. "Your failure to thoroughly investigate a call for service, and determine Michael Haehner's degree of impairment or ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, led to Michael Haehner causing a fatal crash resulting in the death of two people including himself," it states.

The department revealed Tuesday that on March 3, four weeks before his March 31 dismissal, Young had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation of the Haehner incident. The day after Young was fired, he was hired by Chief Fixler as a police officer in Newton Falls.