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Jurors convict man of 15th DUI



Published: Thu, October 28, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

photo

Keith Urso

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

A repeat drunken-driving offender will be sentenced the middle of next month, and he could spend years in prison.

A jury found Keith Urso, 50, of Monroe Street, guilty of his 15th drunken-driving offense and other charges Wednesday. The jury in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court deliberated 90 minutes before reaching its verdict.

Urso has been in county jail almost continuously since his Jan. 31, 2010, arrest.

Urso faces prison time of between two and 10 years. Judge Andrew Logan set sentencing for Nov. 16.

Urso showed no emotion when the verdicts were read. He also declined to comment afterward.

His attorney, public defender Anthony Consoldane, however, said he will appeal, citing what he called “the most one-sided case I’ve ever been involved in.”

Consoldane said Judge Logan’s rulings prevented him from presenting an expert witness on Urso’s behalf or questioning John Beil, the man who called 911 and followed Urso’s car Jan. 31 as it traveled north on Bazetta Road.

“Everything the prosecutor asked for was approved,” Consoldane said. “I wasn’t given a chance to fight.”

Judge Logan approved a request by county Prosecutor Dennis Watkins in February that kept Urso in jail without the opportunity to make bond. Watkins said the move was warranted because Urso posed “a substantial risk of serious physical harm” to the community.

Urso had 14 drunken-driving convictions, had been driving without a license since 1979 and had racked up 31 moving violations, including one for killing a woman while driving drunk in 1982, Watkins said.

The prosecutor said he believed it was the first time a judge had used an Ohio law enacted Jan. 1, 1998, to deny bond to a repeat drunken-driving offender.

Consoldane said it was unfair he was not able to visit Beil at his home to question him about what happened Jan. 31.

Beil was seriously injured in a fall several months ago and could not testify at Urso’s trial, but his wife, Margaret Beil, did testify, and jurors heard a recording of the 911 call John Beil made.

John and Margaret Beil said they followed Urso’s car after it pulled out in front of them on Bazetta Road, then saw the vehicle moving erratically across both lanes of traffic and sometimes coming to a complete stop in the middle of the road.

John Beil called 911 when he and his wife became concerned that the vehicle might hit another car head-on. John Beil stayed on the phone while police officers and a Mosquito Lake State Park ranger traveled to meet up with the Urso and Beil cars.

Urso eventually parked in a restaurant parking lot at state Route 88 in Mecca Township and appeared to be passed out, Margaret Beil said. That’s where officers arrested Urso.

During closing arguments, Consoldane told the jury he thinks John Beil might have called 911 as a result of “road rage” brought on by Urso’s turning in front of the Beils.

Consoldane also argued that the blood-alcohol test that measured Urso at 0.286 — more than 3 1/2 times the legal limit — might have been flawed because procedures used at the Mecca substation of the county sheriff’s office to measure Urso’s blood-alcohol level were improper.

Mike Burnett, assistant county prosecutor, said Consoldane’s remarks were “red herrings” and that none of them were backed up by evidence.


Comments

1Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

15 DUI's, driving without a license, 31 moving violations, killing a woman while driving drunk, this dude needs help and a stint at North Coast Correctional would help him tremendously. He's not only a danger to himself and insists on driving drunk, but to others on the roadways.
North Coast Correctional (Grafton,Ohio) would be idea for him as it was for me.
.

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2jwhitehawke(91 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Who were the judges that let him off the hook? Is this guy democrat?

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3southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Urso lost his right to freedom when he killed that woman in 1982.

Our society needs to impose prison sentences for drunk drivers.

That may not prevent people from drinking and driving, but will remove habitual offeders from the streets.

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4CassAnn(252 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't know how Attorney Anthony Consoldane sleeps at night knowing he is defending a man that previously KILLED someone while driving drunk. They should lock you up and throw away the key long before you get your 15th DUI.

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5henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

A dose of Bubba love every time he touches alcohol or a set of car keys will cure what ails him!

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6coffeeman(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Not only should this man be behind bars for the max. So should the judges that allowed this man out on the streets. And where were his neighbors that watched this man pull out of his driveway behind the wheel of a car? 15 F*** ING DUI's, ARE YOU SEROUS? Did he receive anytime for killing the women in 1982? I would have no problem being accused of road rage if I saw something like this and called 911, This is just a scumbag defense by his scumbag attorney. I applaud John Beil for calling 911.

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7putter22(52 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

OK, lets toss out DUI #15. It's not needed. He already has 14 others! Sheesh! What the hell is this guy doing outside of jail anyway? Look, I get the idea of keeping non-violent offenders out of jail (too much crowding) but come on already.

BTW, the lawyer representing Urso is a public defender. He's not making squat off this case and is performing his duties as a lawyer...representing his client. All the blame should be squarely on the previous lame judges who let this menace walk.

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8Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe road rage was the reason for calling the cops on this man. He would have made me mad too. But it was something that needed to be done and thank God there was no need to call an ambulance too. This man has a serious addiction problem and needs to get help to get it under control. We all should be able to understand addiction because most of us have some sort of problem with it...drinking, obesity, gambling, etc. And it all needs to be recognized and help sought to bring it under control. The problem with the drinking is that you can go out on the road and kill any number of innocent people. No, you don't want to but the addiction won't allow you to stop drinking. I just hope this man will really see this as a blessing, another opportunity to get his life in order and become a positive part of society.
But here is another situation with our LEGAL system, which is not necessarily a JUSTICE system. Slapping the hands, rendering a fine and taking away a license does NOT stop the addiction. There needs to be laws implemented and enforced to make these alcohol and drug abusers seek the help they need. And we need to pray for them too. They aren't evil; they have a problem they are not accepting and getting the help they need...nothing much different than obese people except fat people do more harm to themselves than to others.

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9Heartland(38 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

This guy thinks he's above the law and only his desires count, everyone else be darned. He must be a republican. Where is this guy getting a car? Why don't the cops hide out by his house?

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10Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Who were the judges that let him off the hook? Is this guy democrat?

I saw him at a tea party

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11DOLE2(594 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I loved the defense about the breathaliser being plugged in the same outlet as the fridge! Matlock would be proud.

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