Salem officer charged with OVI resigns

SALEM – A nearly 20-year veteran of the Salem Police Department resigned Friday, just a few days after being suspended without pay pending the outcome of a case against him for charges of drunken driving and marked lanes.

Gary Poage submitted his letter of resignation to Salem police Chief J.T. Panezott, with copies made for Mayor John Berlin, Service / Safety Director Ken Kenst, Auditor Betty Brothers and the Salem Civil Service Commission.

“He has that right,” Panezott said, opting against further comment.

Poage, 47, was charged with OVI and marked lanes by Canfield police after a traffic stop early Feb. 10 on South Broad Street. He was found to be more than three times over the legal limit for alcohol after blowing a .260 during a portable breath test. The legal limit in Ohio is a blood-alcohol content of .08. At the police station, he agreed to a chemical test, which resulted in a reading of .244, still more than three times the legal limit.

Poage pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Mahoning County Court 5 in Canfield. A pretrial hearing is set for March 20, according to online court records.

Items police took from his car included two empty beer bottles and two plastic cups containing what appeared to be beer, according to the arresting officer’s report. His driver’s license was seized and his driving privileges suspended.

Greier is a reporter with the Salem News.