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Driver pleads guilty in vehicular death



Published: Thu, January 24, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



\WARREN -- John Robertson felt no joy as he witnessed a 20-year-old Howland man plead guilty to charges linked to his son's death.

"I feel very sad today," said Robertson, who watched from his wheelchair in the rear of a Trumbull County courtroom. Colin Roberts of Cain Drive pleaded guilty in common pleas court to two charges of failing to comply with a signal of a police officer and a charge each of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular assault.

Roberts, who declined to comment, will be sentenced after a background check by the county's adult probation department.

Atty. Ken Bailey, an assistant county prosecutor, said he will recommend that Roberts receive three years in prison.

Indictment: Roberts also had been indicted on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, but prosecutors agreed to dismiss that charge in exchange for his guilty plea.

Police say that on Jan. 11, 2001, Roberts led an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper on a chase after the trooper attempted to stop him for going through a red light at East Market Street and state Route 46 in Howland.

During the chase, which occurred around 2 a.m., the cruiser, driven by Trooper Lee Sredniawa, collided with a car driven by Robertson's son, Joseph, 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 in the crash.

"I grieve for his family and for him and for my son," Robertson said. "I hope that he will use the time in prison to turn himself around. I will pray for him everyday."

Policy changes: Robertson, who is in a wheelchair because of injuries he suffered in an unrelated car crash, said he wants to work to change police pursuit policies.

"My son never had a chance," Robertson said. "We need to work with law enforcement and come up with a way to make sure we are not endangering each other."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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