FORT WAYNE – An Allen County councilman embroiled in an ethics investigation over a late-night traffic stop where police suspected him of drinking and driving was pulled over again Saturday.
And again police suspected Paul Moss of drinking and driving. But unlike his previous stop June 2, Moss consented to a portable breath test – which showed he was well below the legal limit, according to one officers report – and he was allowed to leave.
An ethics complaint filed against Moss and Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries in the aftermath of the June traffic stop is still being investigated by the Allen County Ethics Commission.
During that stop, Moss refused a portable breath test and called a vacationing Fries on his cellphone. After Fries spoke to the sheriffs patrol officer who initiated that stop, Moss was allowed to find a ride home.
In the latest stop, a Fort Wayne police officer pulled Moss over about 1:50 a.m. in the area of Coldwater Road and Tillwater Lane, according to police reports.
Officer John Nichter wrote in his report that he was behind a slightly speeding dark Chevrolet traveling east on Till Road when the car turned into a housing addition. Nichter continued down the street and turned his car around to continue his patrol. He then saw the same black vehicle driving east on Till Road again, before turning into another housing addition. The Chevrolet then parked in front of a home and the driver turned off the cars lights, Nichter wrote. Nichter parked around a corner and watched the car, which began moving again minutes later.
Nichter, who wrote in the report that this driving behavior was suspicious, pulled the car over when the driver turned on a left turn signal at a point where a cement curb prevented left turns.
In his report, Nichter wrote that Moss was the driver of the vehicle and that his breath smelled of alcohol. Nichtor also noted that he told Moss why he was pulled over.
Moss first said he had nothing to drink that night and refused to take a portable breath test, according to Nichters report.
Eventually, Moss said he had a few drinks awhile ago, Nichter wrote in the report.
I then asked Mr. Moss to give a breath test to see where he was at, Nichter wrote in his report. Mr. Moss replied, What can we do, can I park my car and Ill walk.
In response to questions about the traffic stop, Moss sent a statement to The Journal Gazette that read:
Typically a routine traffic stop where no citation is issued does not warrant a news story. I was pulled over on my way to see my adult daughter that was visiting from out of town.
I was given no reasonable explanation for probable cause, and felt I was being targeted due to recent media coverage. While admittedly frustrated, I asked for no favors and complied fully with officers on the scene.
I was allowed to leave in my vehicle immediately after passing the sobriety test.
Upon recognizing Moss, Nichter called for a sergeant to come to the scene.
Sgt. Tim Hannon arrived shortly afterward and also wrote in his report that Moss breath smelled of alcohol. He wrote that Moss told him he did not trust the results of portable breath tests.
Another officer arrived and Moss did take the portable breath test.
The exact results of that test were not revealed in police reports detailing the traffic stop, but all reports indicated Moss was below the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.
The officers then allowed Moss to drive away.
Meanwhile, the ethics commission investigating whether anything improper happened during Moss June traffic stop is scheduled to meet this afternoon. During that stop, Moss claimed he called Fries to expedite the process of getting a more reliable test than a portable breath test, and Fries has maintained that he did no favors for Moss.
Nothing is expected to be finalized during this meeting. The commission is asking the officers involved in that stop to answer questions about what happened later the next month.