Lima mayoral candidate faces OVI charge

Sam Shriver, The Lima News, Ohio
·2 min read

Feb. 23—LIMA — One of the candidates for Lima mayor has been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged driving while intoxicated incident.

According to Allen County Sheriff's Office and Lima Municipal Court records, Autumn Swanson, 41, was arrested around 1 a.m. Sunday morning and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and failure to maintain reasonable control.

When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Swanson did not want to make any statement, but her campaign spokesman Paul Lagemann did send out a release, saying the campaign was "concerned with the circumstances of the incident."

"En route to a friend's house, Ms. Swanson pulled off the side of the road to use her phone, at which time her vehicle became stuck in the snow," according to the release. "Ms. Swanson reached out to friends for assistance in extricating her car. While she awaited assistance, an officer stopped to investigate the situation and requested various sobriety tests. When Ms. Swanson requested that she be allowed to wait for her friends to arrive to assist her, she was taken into custody by the officer."

The sheriff's office account surrounding her arrest won't be been released until after her arraignment, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Lima Municipal Court.

Swanson was booked into the Allen County Jail at 4:32 a.m. Sunday and freed at 5:53 a.m. after posting a $2,000 bond. Her driver's license was also suspended.

"While the circumstances of this incident are pending legal review, the Swanson Campaign stands firmly behind Autumn Swanson's candidacy for mayor and will provide more information as we review with legal counsel," according to the campaign's statement. "Neither Ms. Swanson, her vehicle, nor anyone else was injured or damaged."

On Saturday morning, Swanson, a former neighborhood specialist for the City of Lima, was awarded a John Lewis Award by 6th Ward Lima Councilor Derry Glenn at an event at the Veterans Memorial and Civic Center in Lima. That event was to honor the late congressman from Georgia who liked to stir up "Good Trouble."

This is not Swanson's first run-in with the law. In December 2018, Swanson was arrested on an intoxication charge. She pleaded no contest and was found guilty by Judge David Rodabaugh and fined $148.

Swanson isn't the only mayoral candidate with misdemeanor charges in their past.

Joshua Hayes was arrested in February 2020 on a charge of illegal use/possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia, but the charges were later dismissed by prosecutors. In January 2019, Hayes was charged with driving under suspension. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was found guilty by Magistrate John Payne and fined $185.

Swanson, Hayes, Sharetta Smith and Elizabeth Hardesty are all running for mayor on the May ballot. The top two vote-getters will run against each other in November.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.