Tina Davis was convicted of felonious assault and given a four-year sentence.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A judge said it would have been "ridiculously simple" for Tina Davis to avoid an altercation that ended with her running down a man with her car.
Instead, she followed three men into a Boardman parking lot where an argument ensued, pepper mace was sprayed and 43-year-old David Morrow of Austintown was run over.
For that, Davis was sentenced to four years in prison Friday by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. She could have gotten up to eight years.
Defense attorney Robert Rohrbaugh II said he will either appeal or seek shock probation for Davis. She would be eligible for shock probation after serving at least six months.
Davis, 37, of Powers Way, was convicted in May of felonious assault.
What happened: Authorities said Davis and the driver of another car became angry at each other as they drove on Interstate 680 in March 2000. Hand gestures were exchanged between the drivers, and the other vehicle eventually passed Davis and exited the freeway onto U.S. Route 224 in Boardman.
Davis followed the car, which contained three men, into a parking lot, where she had a heated argument with the other driver, Michael Morrow.
In the trial, Morrow and his brother, David, testified that they and a friend, Harry Nidel, were on their way to lunch when the events happened.
David Morrow pulled his brother away from the argument and the men were walking away when Davis pulled out the pepper spray and began spraying them with it. As the men scattered, Davis got into her car and ran over David Morrow, who was running across the parking lot.
An eyewitness testified during the trial that she thought Davis intended to kill David Morrow with her car.
Her explanation: Davis had testified that she was afraid of the men and had intended only to get their license plate number.
"That's a bunch of crap," Judge Krichbaum said. "You weren't scared of anything. Your mission was to let them know what you thought."
He said the altercation should have ended as soon as the men pulled off the freeway.
"Do you understand how ridiculously simple it would have been to avoid this?" he said. "All you had to do was drive away."
Before sentencing, Davis' mother, daughter and clergyman asked the judge to place her on probation instead of sending her to prison. But Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Pochiro said a prison sentence would show that road rage is intolerable.
"We read and see too often how drivers on the road let their anger lead to violent confrontations or even death," he said.