East Liverpool man’s death investigated

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

Police reported Trevor Hamlett, 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.

He 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 “Chris” and argued that he could see through the “hole” in the windshield.

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

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

Smith radioed for another officer to return to the scene and summoned an ambulance, saying at that point Hamlett was nearly incoherent and had possibly 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 weren’t trying to get him into trouble but just wanting 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.