Suspected drunken driver’s crash into Lake Erie is latest incident stirring safety concerns in Put-in-Bay (bodycam)

Pro athlete's crash in Lake Erie rattles Put-in-Bay residents

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (WOIO) - A crash involving Arizona Cardinals rookie Jeremiah Braswell in Put-in-Bay is renewing safety concerns on the island after the Camaro he was driving barreled into Lake Erie.

Braswell, who was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State University, was charged with OVI.

Watch bodycam video of the arrest, here:

Bodycam shows OVI arrest of Arizona Cardinals' WR after car crashed into Lake Erie

“That happened to be at the end of a dead end street, through my yard, between my garage and house, less than 100 [feet] from where my neighbors’ children were playing,” a resident wrote in an email to 19 News. “Then through my new patio and patio furniture that I would have been sitting at if I was home.”

“It is amazing that he didn’t kill someone,” he added.

The incident comes amid a turbulent time for the popular summer tourist destination.

Earlier this month, the police chief was placed on leave and two officers resigned over accusations of police brutality.

On Friday, Mayor Jessica Dress swore in James Kimble as the new interim chief.

“He’s been showing great leadership that’s been lacking before with our officers,” Dress told 19 News. “I’m confident the police department is heading in the right direction.”

She said the department has hired five new officers with plans to recruit even more, especially for weekend shifts.

While Saturday’s incident involving Braswell is an isolated, it is another negative story out of Put-in-Bay, which has also faced some criticism over large crowds gathering despite guidelines set for bars and restaurants due to COVID-19.

“We expect media scrutiny. That’s okay,” Dress said. “I don’t know if I’d say it’s unfair but there’s is a spotlight here that might be unusual for other towns our size.”

She said the island has seen record visitor numbers for the month of June.

“We’re happy to have them, it can be quite stressful. Everybody is short-staffed right now. Most people are doing everything they can to comply with those guidelines.”

Dress acknowledged that she has some concerns over the amount of visitors, but stressed that officials are watching very closely.

The responsibility to enforce social distancing and other guidelines falls on the establishments themselves.

Dress said police are available to assist upon request.

On Monday, the Lake Erie Shores and Islands welcome center reopened to the public.

Staff at the tourism information center based in Port Clinton told 19 News now is a good time for visitors and area residents to consider alternatives, while still enjoying natural resources and recreational activities in the region.

“We’ve seen a real strong surge in people coming to the region, just from the pent up demand. They’ve been kind of in that cabin fever mode,” said the group’s director of marketing, Bryan Edwards.

“Look at those non-peak days. Look at Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and even into Friday to plan that trip or getaway. The crowds tend to be [smaller] those days,” Edwards suggested, also urging people look into visiting parks and other lesser known or traveled destinations in the area.

For more information on Lake Erie Shores and Islands, including their partners, click here.

19 News reached out to the Arizona Cardinals to comment on the crash involving Braswell. They have not yet responded.

Braswell, a Toledo native, has not commented publicly.

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