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YOUNGSTOWN Charge against Kuwaiti man dismissed



Published: Wed, July 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A sheriff's major says the Kuwaiti man's driving record is horrible.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A falsification charge filed against a Kuwaiti man -- based on a clerical error by Youngstown State University -- has been dismissed.

The mix-up was resolved Tuesday in municipal court for Mohammad J. Salem, 21, of LeMans Drive, Boardman. He still faces charges of driving with a suspended license and speed in Mahoning County Court, Austintown, on Aug. 5.

City Prosecutor Dionne M. Almasy filed the falsification charge last month after the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department discovered that the Social Security number on Salem's YSU student identification card traced to someone else.

The sheriff's department got involved when Salem, arrested by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 80 in Austintown, was brought to the county jail.

Salem spoke no English to the trooper but did speak broken English to deputies at the jail. At the time, Salem believed the Social Security number on the YSU student ID was his.

Clerical error

Almasy told Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr. that a follow-up investigation by the sheriff's department revealed the YSU clerical error, which showed the wrong Social Security number on the ID card. "We are satisfied that there was no intention to deceive," the prosecutor said in court.

Judge Douglas then dismissed the falsification charge.

Salem's lawyer, Mike McBride, said after court that his client's visa is valid.

Salem told The Vindicator that he is attending summer classes at YSU.

A YSU admissions spokesman said Salem is registered for the summer term which began May 20. Salem first took classes at the university in the fall 2000 term.

When searched by deputies last month, Salem had identification cards for YSU and West Virginia University. A report from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service shows that Salem re-entered the country May 5 and "appears" to be student at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Maj. Michael Budd at the sheriff's department said Salem has no valid driver's license and a "horrible" driving record.

Salem's driving record reveals the following:

UAugust 1999 -- accident, Hardin County.

UMay 2000 -- stop sign, Franklin County.

UJanuary 2001 -- speed, Pennsylvania.

UMay 2001 -- seat belt, Boardman.

UJune 2001 -- speed, West Virginia.

UJuly 2001 -- speed, Pennsylvania.

UAugust 2001 -- accident, Franklin County.

USeptember 2001 -- failure to yield right of way, Boardman.

In November 2001, Salem's license was suspended until Feb. 7, 2002. Budd said it remains suspended because Salem failed to pay the reinstatement fees.

meade@vindy.com




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