MAHONING COUNTY Officer injured in crash
The officer, who hurt his back in Wednesday's accident, has yet to return to work.
AUSTINTOWN -- On what the township's police chief calls the "biggest bar night" of the year, a Cortland man ran a stop sign Thanksgiving Eve and smashed into a cruiser, injuring an officer.
Phillip R. Keatley, 45, of Ridge Road, appeared for arraignment Monday afternoon in Mahoning County Area Court. He pleaded innocent to two counts of driving under the influence and failure to yield right of way from a stop sign.
Judge David A. D'Apolito set a pretrial for 1 p.m. Jan. 31, the clerk's office said.
One count of DUI is based on the officer's observations and the second on Keatley's blood-alcohol concentration, which interim Police Chief Mark Durkin said registered 0.18. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08.
Patrolman Daniel J. Kosco, 38, suffered a back injury and remains off work, Durkin said.
With 123 liquor permits, mostly for bars that close at 2:30 a.m., the town is "saturated" with nightclubs.
Kosco was traveling south on Idaho Road at 10:10 p.m. when Keatley, driving his 2001 Chevrolet S-10 pickup east on Westchester Drive, failed to stop for the stop sign and hit the cruiser broadside in the intersection, according to reports.
The impact sent Kosco's cruiser over the curb and into the front yard of 183 Idaho Road. The cruiser traveled around 40 feet through the yard and hit a crosswalk traffic sign before ending up back on the road.
Durkin said the cruiser, a 2001 Chevrolet Impala with 108,000 miles, is damaged on both sides and the roof. Of the mileage, he said, "That's like new to us."
Kosco had been working a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, Durkin said. STEP provides grant money for officers' overtime.
The chief said he didn't know where Keatley had been before the crash.
Durkin said the night before Thanksgiving is usually very busy, not only because of nightclub patrons. A lot of people come home for the holiday and high school reunions, he said.