Zanesville man sentenced to prison after repeated OVIs, loses driver’s license


By Staff Report

A man who has a history of operating his vehicle while impaired will be forced to spend the next year of his life behind bars after putting himself and the community at large in danger for multiple decades due to his irresponsible actions behind the wheel.

Matthew Kimble, 35-years-old, was most recently on probation for an OVI out of Licking County when he once again chose to drive a vehicle drunk, this time he got himself into a bad crash while running from the police, for which local prosecutors levied felony charges.

A search of Kimble’s court records paints a disturbing picture, he has a problem, he drives drunk – often.

It appears his first runin with the law was in 2005 when he was clocked going nearly twice the posted speed limit.

In the following two decades, he would face multiple OVIs and numerous other traffic charges.

In 2006, for example, Kimble would be cited for an OVI, reportedly his first at the age of 19, two years before he could even legally purchase alcohol. He received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay a fine. Records indicate he also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

In 2011, county deputies cited Kimble with failure to control after he crashed but left the scene. He says he wasn’t drunk that night but couldn’t give a reason why he decided to flee the scene.

Then in February of 2021, Kimble was cited in Licking County with another OVI, he was given probation in the matter. Less than a month later, Kimble would have a serious crash in Muskingum County while drunk, this time also deciding to run from law enforcement.

That action elevated what would have likely been additional misdemeanor charges to a felony third-degree charge of failure to comply.

After pleading guilty, Kimble’s attorney tried to argue that he shouldn’t be sent to prison in the matter and that his client had a ‘severe alcohol addiction.’

Attorney Benjamin Whitacre asked the court for community control and to impose a SCRAM bracelet, a device that would notify law enforcement if Kimble had any alcohol in his system, as well as an in-car breathalyzer that would have to be blown into before the vehicle would start.

“This would not demean the seriousness of the offense,” said Whitacre who noted his client had no felony record. “This happened during a very dark time in his life when he was going through a divorce and turned to alcohol to cope.”

Judge Kelly Cottrill, referencing Kimble’s presentencing investigation, cited that he had just committed the same offense, operating his vehicle while impaired, less than a month earlier in Licking County. He had been given driving privileges to and from work as part of his probation.

“Why were you driving,” Cottrill asked Kimble, who wasn’t on his way to or from work when the crash in Muskingum County occurred. “You didn’t care you were intoxicated, you went driving anyway.”

Kimble blamed his divorce, but didn’t give any other rationale for why he got drunk and then decided to get behind the wheel of his vehicle.

“You got impaired, ran from the police and had a bad crash,” Cottrill said highlighting the seriousness of Kimble’s actions. “The night of this crash you were on an OVI suspension.”

Looking at Kimble’s record, Cottrill also cited how he turned down multiple opportunities for help. In one case, he stopped showing up after just one month.

Finding that Kimble wasn’t amenable to community control, he sentenced him to 12 months in prison and imposed a decade-long driver’s license suspension.

In Ohio, operating a vehicle while impaired is only a felony-level offense after three OVI convictions within a decade or after five within the past 20 years.