Man’s Death After Traffic Stop Investigated

The Columbiana County coroner is investigating the death of a 37-year-old man who died at a local hospital Thursday morning after East Liverpool police stopped his vehicle for having a frosted windshield.

Police reported Trevor Hamlett of 813 Ohio Ave. was eastbound on Pennsylvania Avenue at 10:19 a.m. when a westbound officer on patrol noticed the vehicle with just a basketball-sized area cleared in the center of its frosted-over windshield.

The officers reported being unable to see the driver due to the thickness of the frost and made a U-turn to pull behind the vehicle and initiate a traffic stop.

The officer reported recognizing the vehicle as possibly a rental often driven by Hamlett and said, as he approached, could see the driver was on a phone and that it was, in fact, Hamlett.

When advised why he was stopped and told he could not possibly see the road, which was unsafe, Hamlett reportedly called Patrolman Rob Smith by a different name and argued that he could see through the small cleared area of the windshield.

Smith reported that at that point, Hamlett appeared coherent and showed nothing abnormal about his behavior other than splitting his conversation between him and someone on the phone.

Smith returned to his vehicle to prepare a citation, reporting that when he returned to the stopped vehicle, Hamlett had slurred speech and appeared intoxicated, and the officer couldn’t understand what Smith was saying.

The officer radioed for another unit to return to the scene and summoned an ambulance, saying by that point Hamlett was nearly incoherent and he believed the man may have ingested drugs.

While officers waited for the ambulance, they said Hamlett appeared to be having a major seizure, after which he was asked if he had swallowed any drugs, with officers emphasizing they wanted to tell emergency personnel so he could receive proper treatment.

No drugs were found in the vehicle, according to Capt. Darin Morgan, who said Hamlett was transported by ambulance to East Liverpool City Hospital, where he died.

Morgan said the coroner is conducting an investigation.