WARREN - Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos ordered former Ohio State All-American Van DeCree back to his court Monday with written verification of doctors appointments or risk going to prison for up to eight years.
DeCree, 59, of Main Avenue S.W., a defensive end for the Buckeyes in 1973 and 1974 after a standout career at Warren Western Reserve, was indicted last year on drug and Workers' Compensation fraud charges and was given a chance by Kontos to enter what's known as a treatment-in-lieu-of-conviction program.
DeCree already completed a program through Glenbeigh Health Sources in January but was still being monitored by a probation officer, who filed probation violations when she said DeCree flunked at least two random drug tests and avoided taking tests at other times.
''I was told you're given 48 hours notice on the tests,'' DeCree testified Monday at a probation violation hearing in front of Kontos. DeCree told the judge that he's legally been prescribed Vicodin and perhaps that or the cortisone he takes for hip and back injuries is what could have marred test results.
Glenbeigh is a drug and alcohol treatment center.
The former football star also has vowed to produce an expert to testify on his behalf at his hearing, but the expert has recently suffered a stroke.
He and his attorney, Brendan Keating, also questioned the chain of evidence used in collecting the urine samples for the tests and how the samples are tested.
DeCree's probation officer Tracy Hunt insisted from the witness stand that a random drug test is completely random. She pointed out how cocaine for example only stays in the system one or two days.
She said after a status hearing in the case Aug. 5 she wanted DeCree to take a test and he said he had no urine in his bladder. She told him to return on Aug. 6 but he said he was busy with doctors appointments from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Then Aug. 12, DeCree was ordered to take a test right in the courthouse. Hunt said DeCree returned with an ''ice cold'' container that appeared to be nothing more than clear water. A second check of the sample tested with results that it ''was not from human origin.''
''I missed the cup and and filled it from the toilet,'' DeCree said.
Kontos gave DeCree and his attorney time to call the expert and ordered documentation from the doctors that he visited Aug. 6 before resuming the hearing next week.
Instead of dismissing the seven-count indictment against DeCree after completing the one-year program that ends in October, Kontos can sentence DeCree to prison.
In March, DeCree, a three-year starter at OSU and three-time All-Big Ten standout, pleaded not guilty to a seven-count indictment charging him with possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, five counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs, fourth-degree felonies that carry a maximum of 18 months, and a misdemeanor count of Workers' Compensation fraud.
Last year, a Warren police officer stopped DeCree on Atlantic Street N.W. for failing to turn on his headlights. Police said DeCree was using a suspended driver's license, and they found two suspected bags of crack cocaine in his pants.
The indictments also accuse the former World Football League player of falsifying or altering documents related to a claim filed with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation last year. Additional allegations include ''doctor-shopping'' for Vicodin in 2010 and 2011.