The Austintown man said he couldn't think of anything else to do, so he ran.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The thought of going to prison for violating probation scared Ronald Simpson III so badly he bolted from a courtroom and led police on a car chase through Austintown.
He's still going to prison.
Simpson was placed on probation last year by Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty to burglary and marijuana trafficking.
When he was subsequently arrested for domestic violence, he knew it violated terms of the probation -- even though he said the accusation was false.
He'd already been told by the judge that if he broke the law while on probation, his probation would be revoked and he'd be sent to prison.
"It just spooked me," the 20-year-old Paisley Avenue man said at a hearing Wednesday. "I was scared and didn't know what else to do."
While at the Austintown court last year, awaiting an appearance on the domestic violence charge, he picked the lock on his handcuffs and bolted out the door. He stole a van and led police on a chase, slamming into a passenger car and a police car, injuring one officer.
He was sentenced two weeks ago to two years in prison by Judge Jack Durkin of common pleas court after pleading guilty to charges of escape, theft, failure to obey a police order and vandalism.
Simpson was back before Judge Krichbaum Wednesday for the probation violation. His attorney, Jeffrey Limbian, conceded that Simpson would get prison time, but asked that it be concurrent to Judge Durkin's sentence.
Judge Krichbaum went along with the request, but said Simpson deserves to do time for both crimes.
"For me to give you just a two-year sentence and let it run at the same time as Judge Durkin's sentence would be giving you a freebie," Judge Krichbaum said. "You don't deserve a freebie."
Instead, he imposed a four-year sentence and said it will run concurrent to Judge Durkin's sentence.
That means that when Simpson's two years are up for the escape-related charges, he'll still have another two years to serve for the original charges.