In a double-fatal Newton Falls crash recently, Paul Wodianka of Diamond, who has been charged with OVI at least three times previously, is alleged to have crossed the centerline while driving at a high rate of speed. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said alcohol and drugs appear to have contributed to the accident.
Cherilynn Waldron of Cortland was on house arrest at the time for her eighth DUI arrest. She was found passed out behind the wheel of her car Feb. 24, 2010, in Bazetta. After being awakened there, Waldron asked a Highway Patrol trooper if he would hold her hand while she took the customary sobriety test of standing on one leg.
While under house arrest for that incident, an electronically monitored ankle bracelet was removed from Waldron because of an allergic reaction. Soon after she was charged with her ninth DUI when a Cortland police officer awakened her while she sat on the driver's seat of her car which was still in drive. She was unable to tell the officer her name.
Ronald A. Wilcox of Brookfield was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 23, 2011, for a drunken driving charge issued in July 2010. The night before his court appearance Wilcox was issued another drunken driving charge.
In October of 2010, Keith Urso was convicted of his 15th drunken driving charge, including one stemming from a fatal accident.
James Cline's 12th DUI conviction in 2009 resulted from an accident that killed two Hiram College students.
These make up just a sampling of cases in which court enforcement of DUI arrests and convictions fall short of adequate. A recent review of courts in Trumbull and Mahoning counties shows a low rate of DUI convictions, especially for repeat offenders.
All the effort that local patrol officers make in catching drunken drivers just isn't going to cut it unless they get support in court. Judges in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, and throughout Ohio for that matter, must find a better way to keep dangerous drivers locked up.