December 19, 2014

Elyria
Fog
29°F
test

Temp tag theft leads to mistaken warrant

ELYRIA — Michael Izzarelli was sitting down to dinner after a day of playing baseball at his college when he got a call from his mother that Elyria police had issued a warrant for his arrest back in his hometown, over an hour away.

“I didn’t even get to finish my (dinner),” Izzarelli said, adding that he got in his car and drove home Wednesday to Elyria in order to tell police he was innocent.

Police say they mistakenly issued arrest warrants for Izzarelli, 18, and his friend Brandi Green, 19, after an incident Tuesday night.

About 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Elyria police Officers Jake Webber and Tom Orsik went to 310 East Ave. on a report that two people were in a car, possibly using drugs.

Officers arrived at the scene to find a woman in the driver’s seat and a man in the passenger’s seat, both of whom ignored police questions and requests to talk. When police asked the two to roll down their windows, the woman turned on the car and drove off, almost hitting Webber in the process, according to the police report.

When police ran the temporary tag numbers on the vehicle, the registration came back to Green. Because Green and Izzarelli were friends, Webber and Orsik assumed that they were the two suspects in the car on Tuesday and wrote arrest warrants for the teenagers, according to Elyria police Lt. William Pelko.

However Green and Izzarelli weren’t involved in the incident and had never met the two suspects.

Green had traded in the temporary tag weeks earlier for a permanent license plate.

When police were able to talk to Green and Izzarelli, they realized the two were not the suspects in the car and took back the warrant Thursday evening.

In the meantime, Yates Fallon, 18, and Keith Stone, 20, were charged on Thursday with obstruction of official business and resisting arrest for the Tuesday incident.

The original police report naming Green and Izzarelli already had been released, however, and an item about the incident appeared in the police blotter.

“I don’t even want to look at it,” Izzarelli said, adding that his high school coaches, friends and teachers had been calling him all day to ask about the report. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”

Pelko said that the two officers who mistakenly wrote arrest warrants for Green and Izzarelli are not going to suffer any repercussions.

“They were just doing their job,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.