MAHONING COUNTY Commissioners' clerk faces assault charge
Mahoning County officials say they will review the situation.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The clerk for Mahoning County commissioners is to appear in Boardman area court this week to answer charges stemming from what police say was a weekend road rage situation.
Thomas B. Smith is charged with misdemeanor assault. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
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. Saturday 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.
Got out of truck: Reports say the man told police he stopped for the traffic light at Route 224 and South Avenue when Smith exited his 2002 Chevy S-10 pickup truck and an argument ensued between the men. The man told police that within minutes Smith had reached through the open car window and began choking him.
Reports say officers were told that Smith got back into his truck and left. The man phoned police. There is no record of the man's seeking medical attention.
Smith said Monday that he could not comment on the charge. He would say only that County Administrator Gary Kubic was aware of the situation.
Kubic said officials do not want to discuss the case in depth until they know all the facts.
He also said it is too early to determine how the charge could affect Smith's position with the county.
"All I can say is that Tom will be discussing the situation with the commissioners, and the commissioners will review the matter," Kubic said.
Insubordination: 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 what the argument was about or say exactly what happened.