By JOE GORMAN
A man who ran away from police in handcuffs during a South Side traffic stop Sunday said he did not want to go back to jail because he feared withdrawing from heroin.
Christian Ranalli, 32, of 1511 Butler St., Struthers, was arrested behind 720 Winona Ave. about 7:20 p.m. Sunday on charges of possession of heroin, possession of drug abuse instruments, obstructing official business and resisting arrest.
Police also found seven individual doses of heroin in two separate bags, one in Ranalli’s pants and another next to the seat in the SUV he was a passenger in, along with several shoelaces and four needles.
During his arraignment before Judge Robert Milich of Youngstown Municipal Court, he said he needed a court-appointed lawyer even though he had a job. When Milich asked him if he had any savings, Ranalli said no.
“I spent all my money on drugs,” he said with an embarrassed grin.
Court records and Vindicator files also show that Ranalli served almost four years in prison for a July 31, 1998, shooting in the parking lot of an Elm Street store that killed 22-year-old Tommy Hubert Jr. and wounded Anthony McDowell, who was 21 at the time.
He was imprisoned after pleading guilty to the charges of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault. He was also supposed to be arraigned today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on a felony charge of theft, according to court records.
Sunday, an officer spotted an SUV parked at a Glenwood Avenue gas station that is known for its drug activity, reports said. When the SUV pulled away a man later identified as Ranalli ran up to it and got in. The officer then stopped the SUV.
Ranalli appeared very nervous as he was questioned and the officer saw him try to move a bag that was attached to his belt, reports said. The officer took Ranalli out of the SUV and handcuffed him, but he managed to run away with the cuffs on.
He was chased to the home on Winona Avenue, where he was caught after trying to climb a 6-foot fence and falling down, reports said.
Reports said Ranalli told officers he has been addicted to heroin for 11 years and did not want to go back to jail because he was afraid of the trauma of withdrawing from heroin, reports said.
In the 1998 case, Ranalli was granted judicial release from prison.
In 2008, he had misdeameanor counts filed in Mahoning County Area Court in Austintown for the charges of drug abuse and permitting drug abuse; a 2010 charge in Boardman court for petty theft; and a 2012 charge for theft in common pleas court.