BOARDMAN Charges against ex-clerk dropped
The complainant decided not to pursue the charges.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Charges of misdemeanor assault against the former clerk for Mahoning County commissioners have been dismissed.
Thomas B. Smith was charged in September after what police described as a road rage encounter.
He appeared in Boardman area court Monday for a pretrial hearing. Smith will be required to pay $50 in court costs.
Background: According to police reports, a Poland man told officers he was traveling on U.S. Route 224, approaching South Avenue around 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15 when Smith cut him off, almost causing an accident.
The man acknowledged he made an obscene gesture to Smith and said Smith kept motioning for him to pull his car over.
Reports say the man told police that when he stopped for the traffic light at Route 224 and South Avenue, Smith got out of his 2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck and an argument ensued. The man told police that Smith reached through the open car window and began choking him.
Smith got back into his truck and left, the man told police. There is no record of the man's seeking medical attention.
John Ausnehmer, Boardman area court prosecutor, said the Poland man appeared in court with his attorney, Michael Rich, and said he did not wish to pursue the case further.
"Since he filed the charges, he has the right to go forward or not to go forward," said Ausnehmer.
Smith's attorney, John Shultz, said both parties acknowledged the matter was a "mutual misunderstanding."
Suspension: Earlier this year, Smith was placed on a five-day unpaid suspension for insubordination. Vindicator files show that Smith was apparently involved in an argument with Commissioner Ed Reese.
At the time, Reese would not comment on the argument.
In late October, Smith resigned as clerk, a position he held since 1998. Since Nov. 1, he has been borough manager of Seven Fields, Pa., near Cranberry Township.