MAUMEE -- A local religious leader has been released after facing charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs of abuse. State troopers have charged Michael Pitts, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Maumee, after a traffic stop on Wednesday.
In Maumee Municipal Court on Friday, Pitts waived his arraignment, and the judge released him until his next court date on January 16th. On that day, the judge will hold a pre-trial hearing. "We fully expect that when the test results come back, they will show that he was, in fact, below the legal limit. This is not that big a deal," said Steve Hartman, a lawyer for Pitts.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Pitts was driving on US 20A in western Lucas County just east of the county line when he stopped for a routine vehicle inspection. The trooper said he smelled alcohol, and did a field sobriety test.
The results of that test caused the trooper to take Pitts into custody, and take him to the Highway Patrol Post on Airport Highway. Their breathalyzer machine there is broken, so troopers say Pitts provided a urine sample that was sent to Columbus for analysis. Prosecutors say it could take as long as 4 weeks for those results to come through.
Pitts says he will not talk about the arrest from the pulpit. "[The congregation at Cornerstone Church is] very supportive of us. They really love us. There's really nothing else to say," said Pitts outside his court appearance. "They understand, they're a pretty intelligent group of people"
Pitts has been found guilty of driving under the influence once before. He also pleaded "no contest" in April of 1998 to two charges of criminal tresspassing in a case where he was accused of exposing himself at Oak Openings Metropark. The deal threw out several charges of indecent exposure. The prosecution in his trial had rested its case, and the defense had begun calling witnesses when the plea deal was struck. Similar indecent exposure charges in Wauseon and Toledo were thrown out.
Updated by AEB