By joe gorman
Most public officials encourage people passing through Mahoning County to stop for a bite to eat or just to relax.
But not Judge Lou D’Apolito of common pleas court. On Wednesday, the judge told a Las Vegas truck driver he sentenced to probation for ramming his rig into an Austintown night club in November that if he ever comes this way again, he should just keep going.
“I’m telling you, the less contact you have in Mahoning County the better,” Judge D’Apolito said to 45-year-old Suren Aramyan. Aramyan pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted felonious assault and vandalism for crashing into Club 76 on Seventy Six Drive and damaging several cars in the parking lot early Nov. 24, 2012. “It would be a great idea for you to pass through our town rather than stop,” the judge said.
Aramyan originally was charged with 21 counts of attempted murder and felonious assault and at one time was in jail for 42 days because of a $2.5 million bond, which later was reduced.
He was placed on five years’ probation and also was ordered to sell his semi and give the proceeds to Club 76, which sustained $150,000 in damage. If the amount is less than $20,000, he must make up the difference himself, according to the plea agreement. He also is banned from ever setting foot inside Club 76, must stay 1,000 feet away and cannot go into any similar clubs in Mahoning County.
Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Davis said he spoke with counsel for the nightclub and they agreed with the plea. Most of the damage was covered by insurance, Davis said.
According to reports, Aramyan had been drinking and was furious when he was kicked out of the night club, which was why he drove into it. He threatened to kill people inside and was waving a gun around outside after witnesses came to check on him. He had to be shot with a stun gun to be taken into custody.
Aramyan, who speaks Russian, English and Armenian, said in court Wednesday that he has been in America for 24 years and has never been in trouble.
“Somehow, my life changed,” Aramyan said of that morning. “I don’t know what happened.”
“You acted very childish,” Judge D’Apolito answered. “You’re lucky nobody got killed or you would go to prison.”
“Maybe Jesus helped me,” Aramyan said.
Judge D’Apolito said it was more than Jesus who helped Aramyan.
“Jesus, with the help of two good lawyers,” Judge D’Apolito said.
Aramyan was warned by Judge D’Apolito that if he should violate the terms of his probation, he will be sent to prison.