Jason Fantone, the Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper originally charged with operating a vehicle impaired, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Judge David D’Apolito of Mahoning County Area Court sentenced Fantone on Thursday to serve 30 days in the county jail, but suspended 27 of them.
In lieu of jail time, Fantone will have to pay $650 in court costs and will be on nonreporting probation for six months. Fantone’s driver’s license also is suspended for six months, but he is allowed to drive to work, medical appointments and school. Fantone also will have to attend a drug-and-alcohol treatment program.
The charge was reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor because Fantone never displayed any erratic driving, according to court records.
On July 8, Fantone was found in the Austintown Buffalo Wild Wings’ parking lot asleep with his vehicle idling. Restaurant workers called police after they had to force him to leave the building.
Fantone appeared visibly drunk when township police officers arrived at the scene. It took some time before they were able to awaken Fantone and place him under arrest. Police said Fantone insulted them throughout the incident.
Fantone was placed on administrative duties after the incident and not in uniform. Before the incident occurred, he was a trooper at the Warren post. An administrative investigation is being done, and Fantone could face termination, state highway patrol officials said.
Fantone was once a trooper at the Canfield post before he was arrested in 2011 at a Cleveland Browns game for heckling officers and vandalism. His charges were reduced to a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct. Fantone had to complete a six-month diversion program. A labor arbiter awarded Fantone’s job back to him in December 2011.