Acting fire chief pleads to lesser charge in OVI case

By jeanne starmack


Acting Coitsville fire chief Christoper Manack, who was charged with Operating a Vehicle while Impaired, pleaded no contest Wednesday to a lesser charge.

Manack pleaded no contest in Girard Municipal Court to physical control, a misdemeanor.

A charge of failure to maintain marked lanes was dismissed.

Visiting Judge Carol Sopkovich sentenced Manack to 180 days in jail with 177 suspended, and he will attend a driver- intervention program instead of serving three days in jail.

He was fined $500 with $250 of it suspended. His license is suspended until March 2012, but his attorney, Pete Klimis, said he will appeal for driving privileges.

Manack had been charged with OVI refusal, meaning he had refused a breath test.

He said after his court hearing that it was never proved he was driving drunk.

Police had stopped him around 3 a.m. July 24 on state Route 616.

It was his second OVI charge.

He faced an OVI charge in Struthers Municipal Court in July 2009 after he was arrested in Struthers.

He was accused of having a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit, and he pleaded no contest in August 2010, according to court documents.

He was found guilty. He was fined $375 and his 180-day jail sentence was suspended.

He was ordered to attend driver intervention. His license was suspended from July 18, 2009, until Jan. 14, 2010.

After Manack’s Wednesday hearing, Klimis called the case disposition “a fair resolution.”

Manack said he will continue to do his job.

He is an assistant fire chief who has been running the department for about a year.

Fire Chief Nick Pope retired.

Township trustee chairwoman Phyllis Johnson, who said in October that trustees were awaiting the disposition of Manack’s case, could not be reached to comment Wednesday.

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