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Sheriff says deputy's action was 'just another traffic stop'



Published: Thu, July 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The expelled congressman was given a written warning.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

BRIMFIELD -- James A. Traficant Jr. accused a Portage County deputy sheriff who spotted the former congressman driving left of center along state Route 43 late at night of being "in cahoots with the FBI."

"He was compliant with the deputy, but he seemed a little ticked off," said Sheriff Duane W. Kaley.

"He said something to the deputy asking him if he was in cahoots with the FBI. Obviously, the deputy wasn't."

Traficant, who was driving a vehicle with dealer's tags, said during his expulsion hearing on the floor of the U.S. House on Wednesday that he did ask the deputy if the Federal Bureau of Investigation told him to "get me on a DUI."

Traficant said he told the deputy if any FBI agent urged the deputy to get him arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, "I'd tear his throat out."

Traficant also said he warned the deputy that if he was lying about involvement with the FBI on his traffic stop, he'd do the same to the deputy.

A deputy saw Traficant driving left of center three times on state Route 43 in Brimfield, heading toward Interstate 76 about 2 a.m. Saturday, Kaley said.

The deputy smelled alcohol on his breath and asked him to step out of the vehicle to take coordination and breath tests, Kaley said.

Below legal limit

Traficant told the deputy he had two glasses of wine and was on his way home from Kent, Kaley said.

The sheriff said that he did not know Traficant's exact blood alcohol content but that it was considerably lower than the legal limit of 0.10.

During his expulsion hearing, Traficant said his blood alcohol reading was 0.001.

The deputy recognized Traficant once he got out of his vehicle, Kaley said.

Traficant was given a written warning by the deputy to be more careful and sent on his way, Kaley said.

"It was just another traffic stop. The deputy observed Traficant driving and thought something was wrong. He needed to determine if something was wrong," Kaley said.

Traficant was not given any special treatment by the deputy, he said.

"In all fairness, at two in the morning, you might weave a little bit," he said. "It doesn't mean a person is intoxicated.

"The deputy could cite or not; he has that discretion. It was not unusual to give a written warning."

skolnick@vindy.com




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