OC man waives hearing on DUI-drugs, firearms charges

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By MARISSA DECHANT – Staff writer

An Oil City man accused of driving under the influence of various drugs while in illegal possession of a loaded firearm waived his preliminary hearing this week in Venango County Central Court.

Joshua Sjoden, 26, was charged with felony counts of possession of firearm prohibited and firearms not to be carried without a license, in addition to various misdemeanor and summary counts related to DUI and traffic violations.

A criminal complaint filed through district judge Patrick Lowrey’s office said that around 9 p.m. Feb. 4, Sugarcreek Borough police observed a black Ford SUV speed out of the Sheetz on Route 8.

Police followed the driver, later identified as Sjoden, as he traveled 58 mph in a posted 45 mph zone and made multiple lane changes before they pulled him over on Elk Street in Franklin, the complaint said.

Officers found Sjoden had an active warrant for his arrest and asked him to step out of the vehicle, the complaint said.

Due to his driving and behavior, Sjoden was subjected to a field sobriety test, which he performed poorly, the complaint said.

Police took Sjoden into custody on suspicion of DUI, the complaint said.  Sjoden related that he had not been drinking alcohol, but he had injected Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment drug, the previous night, the complaint said.

A search was then conducted on his vehicle, and police found a loaded 9mm handgun in the center console, the complaint said.

Police learned the weapon wasn’t reported stolen but that it did belong to another person, the complaint said.

A criminal history report later received from Venango County 911 found that Sjoden wasn’t to possess firearms, the complaint said.

Sjoden was taken to UPMC Northwest for a blood test, and the results indicated a variety of drugs in his system, including metabolites, morphine and fentanyl, the complaint said.

He remains in the Venango County jail on $25,000 bail.