WARREN - Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Michael Burnett was recognized Thursday as ''Prosecutor of the Year'' by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Burnett, who has worked as an assistant county prosecutor here since January 2002, handles specific cases involving repeat felony drunken driving offenses, aggravated vehicular assaults and aggravated vehicular homicides.
Burnett was among more than 75 police officers given awards at a yearly gathering in Independence hosted by MADD and its affiliate office that represents all of northern Ohio.
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored local assistant prosecutor Michael Burnett Thursday. Shown, from left, are Julie Leggett, executive director of MADD northeast Ohio affiliate office; assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Michael Burnett; MADD advocate Jeralyn Shinell; and Gary Hetzel, investigator for Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office.
A female Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was singled out for 196 DUI arrests in one year. Other ''Top Cop'' awards went to law enforcement officers from Canton to Toledo and beyond.
''Michael is truly deserving of this award. I've seen what he does firsthand,'' said Julie Leggett, executive director of the MADD office in northeast Ohio.
''Victims in these cases take an emotional journey and most have never been in a court of law before. The prosecutor in these cases takes on a huge role and it's something Michael handles perfectly,'' she said.
''Michael answers all the questions for our victims and explains all the challenges and expectations that surface in these cases,'' Leggett said.
Leggett also said when Burnett was nominated through a special committee, his work in the courtroom on three impaired driving cases was noted:
l Donald P. Williams Jr., a truck driver who was sentenced to serve 16 years in prison after rear-ending a car in Braceville in 2010 and killing three U.S. Marine recruits on their way to Cleveland to join the military.
l Brandy L. Schneider, who was sentenced to five years in prison for striking and killing a LaBrae High School football player who was walking home. She then left the scene in 2010.
l Paul Wodianka, who was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for killing a Newton Falls couple in 2011 as they were celebrating their wedding anniversary.