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Worthington man arrested on fifth DWI charge

WORTHINGTON — Worthington resident Ojulu Omot Ogala, 35, has been arrested on a charge of first-degree driving while intoxicated, a felony, following an incident that occurred late last week.

The charge marks Ogala’s fifth DWI since 2005, according to court documents. He was also charged with driving after cancellation — inimical to public safety (DAC-IPS).

According to the complaint, two Worthington Police officers received and responded to a report of an unresponsive man on Cecilee Street. When the officers arrived, they observed a white Oldsmobile Delta 88 parked on the wrong side of the street while running. Based on the angle the vehicle was parked, it was noted to be facing against traffic.

As one of the officers entered the apartment complex, he observed a man lying face down on the hallway floor whom the officer identified as Ogala. The officer then attempted to wake Ogala up and gave verbal commands to him, but he remained unresponsive. The officer then rolled Ogala onto his side and administered sternum rubs. At that point, Ogala opened his eyes and stated, “You’d better let me sleep.”

The officer then asked Ogala to sit up against the wall, but he was unable to do so on his own. The officer helped him sit up and noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Ogala, along with slurred speech and bloodshot watery eyes. The second officer also made the same observations.

Ogala was administered a portable breath test. After being instructed to blow into the straw, Ogala kept sucking on it instead. Finally, a sample was obtained with an alcohol concentration of .224. At that time, Ogala said he had driven the Oldsmobile parked outside and it belonged to him.

Later, when questioned at the jail, Ogala said the car was his but he did not drive it, alleging that someone was trying to set him up. He also indicated he did not have the keys to the vehicle, meaning he didn’t drive it.

An inventory search of the vehicle revealed a 750-ml bottle of Black Velvet whiskey with approximately one-third of the contents missing. A cell phone was also found. Both items were in the front passenger seat of the car.

When speaking with Ogala at the jail, he indicated the cell phone was his but that he was not driving. He added that he did not own the car and it belonged to a friend named Com, who was driving. Ogala said Com lived in an apartment in the building.

When officers went to that apartment, a female resided there. She said she did not know Ogala or anyone named Com.

Court documents reveal Ogala was arrested on four prior DWI convictions from incidents on July 3, 2005; July 27, 2005; Sept. 23, 2006; and Oct. 2, 2010. The 2010 incident resulted in a felony DWI conviction for refusing to submit to a chemical test. He was convicted of that offense on March 11, 2011, and his license was canceled as inimical to public safety.

Ogala is scheduled to appear in court next week. If convicted, a first-degree DWI charge can carry a sentence of seven years imprisonment and/or a $14,000 fine. The second charge of DAC-IPS can result in a penalty of one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

Robin Baumgarn

Robin Baumgarn is a new reporter for the Daily Globe covering the Education and Northwest Iowa beats. Prior to coming to the Globe, she worked for the Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News, a weekly Iowa paper for three years. She is a 2012 graduate of Iowa Lakes Community College and lives in Northwest Iowa with her husband Ryan and three pets, Fidget, Missy and Samwise.

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