WARREN Man is arraigned in fatal police chase
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A 19-year-old Howland man faces up to 33 years in prison if convicted of numerous charges from a car chase that resulted in a deadly crash.
Colin Roberts of Cain Drive entered innocent pleas Thursday to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and two counts of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.
Chased by trooper: Roberts led police on a chase Jan. 11 after an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper attempted to stop him for going through a red light at East Market Street and state Route 46, the patrol said.
During the chase around 2 a.m., the cruiser driven by Trooper Lee Sredniawa collided with a car driven by Joseph Robertson, 18, of Atlantic Street N.E., Warren, at North River Road and Elm Road N.E.
Robertson, a freshman at Kent State University Trumbull Campus, died. His passenger, Paul Ottum, 18, of Hubbard, suffered several injuries and was in the hospital for two days.
Moments after Sredniawa crashed, Roberts drove by the accident site and was pursued by Warren City and Champion police. Roberts' car eventually struck a utility pole at North River Road and state Route 46 around 2:31 a.m. Roberts and his passenger, Ryan Higgins, 17, of Howland, suffered minor injuries.
Possible sentence: Atty. Ken Bailey, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said if Roberts is convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison on the involuntary manslaughter charge, up to eight years on the aggravated vehicular homicide charge, up to five years on the aggravated vehicular assault and up to five years on each count of failing to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.
Roberts was secretly indicted on the charges Wednesday. Sheriff's department officials arrested Roberts on the charges Thursday and brought him to court.
Roberts first appeared in the courtroom of Judge John Stuard for arraignment. Judge Stuard followed Bailey's recommendation and set Roberts' bond at $100,000. The case is assigned to Judge W. Wyatt McKay.
Atty. John Fowler, who represents Roberts, then filed a motion with Judge McKay for a bond reduction.
After a brief hearing, Judge McKay granted the motion and set Roberts' bond at $50,000. Roberts posted the bond and was released from the county jail.
Not allowed to drive: Judge McKay ordered Roberts to voluntarily surrender his driver's license and told him that he is not allowed to drive a motor vehicle.
"I take this very seriously and if you drive a motor vehicle anywhere you will go to jail," Judge McKay said.
Roberts, who is attending Youngstown State University, declined to comment.
Fowler said Roberts also is taking part in an alcohol and drug treatment program.
Sredniawa is off work due to injuries he suffered in the crash, OSHP officials said.