Following a Freedom of Information Act request, more details are coming to light surrounding the arrest of Houghton County Undersheriff Kevin Coppo. Security at The Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Traverse County called law enforcement to report a two-vehicle collision in the hotel’s parking lot just after 1:45 AM on March 3rd.
Manager Cory Lorenzen says a silver truck reversed into a legally parked black Chevrolet Suburban at a high rate of speed and in an erratic manner. The truck is registered to the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department and was being utilized by Coppo to attend a first responder banquet.
Deputy Mitchell Hoffman says that sheriff’s personnel made contact with Coppo in his hotel room about a half hour later. Coppo admitted to being at a Traverse City bar called the Double Wide earlier in the night, but said most of the drinking had happened recently back at the lodge. Hoffman says Coppo was slurring his words and had watery eyes. Coppo refused a breathalyzer and officers found three White Claw cans, two had been consumed and one was only partially empty.
Hoffman arrested Coppo and two breath samples were taken after 3:30 AM, nearly two hours after the initial crash. One returned a 0.23 BAC and the other 0.24, roughly three times the legal limit.
A supplemental filing by Deputy Weber says that he personally spied several crushed alcoholic beverage cans in the back pouch of the passenger seat inside the county vehicle. Coppo has no similar incidents on his record. He has been charged with refusing a breathalyzer test, operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.17% or more, and failing to report an accident.
Coppo has been placed on paid administrative leave. At Tuesday’s Houghton County Board of Commissioners meeting Sheriff Josh Saaranen said a temporary replacement has been named to the department’s number two post.
Coppo is presumed innocent while the court process plays out.