The Boardman school district’s supervisor of transportation was ticketed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for OVI and failure to signal.
Hugh Braham, 66, of College Lane, Poland, was pulled over on South Avenue near Tiffany Boulevard just before midnight May 17. According to the ticket, Braham refused a breath test, so his blood-alcohol content is not known.
He appeared in Mahoning County Area Court on May 21, pleaded not guilty to the OVI and was given a $1,500 recognizance bond by Judge Joseph M. Houser, according to court records. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. July 9.
Braham has been without his license since the incident, he said, but will be able to petition the court to get it back June 15.
School Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said he and the school board are aware of the episode and that disciplinary action hasn’t been taken because the case is ongoing.
“He’s disappointed us, so we’ll deal with this internally,” Lazzeri said. “Should the guy be thrown in jail or fired for this? I don’t think so. You have to put everything in perspective.”
Braham said he told Lazzeri about the OVI that following Monday. Lazzeri told the school board later that week.
This is not the first police episode for Braham.
He was charged with public indecency and disorderly conduct while intoxicated in February 2001, according to a Poland Village police report in his personnel file. Police observed Braham urinating outside the post office. Braham apologized, also told police he was drinking, and was placed under arrest after police noticed he couldn’t balance himself. He was ordered to appear in Struthers Municipal Court on Feb. 14, 2001.
Don Dailey, former Boardman superintendent, wrote Braham a letter April 27, 2001, that was placed in his personnel file criticizing Braham for bringing “demeaning publicity upon you, your position as supervisor of transportation, and the Boardman Local Schools.”
Braham and Dailey met Feb. 13, 2001, according to the file. Braham told Dailey the incident at the post office occurred because he has a medical condition for which he was being treated. He acknowledged he had a few drinks but “was not intoxicated.”
Documentation of his medical record states Braham was being treated for “bladder-related problems.”
The Poland charges against Braham were expunged, Braham noted, saying he was “exonerated.”
Since then, Braham has received positive feedback from colleagues and the public, according to his personnel file. Every evaluation with Boardman schools, from 1980 to 2013, was above average or met the standard in all areas. He has received letters of praise from several community members and local officials.
“I like to think of myself as a kind man who enjoys life and is thankful for every day,” Braham said. “I love my work. I’m a dedicated employee who comes to work each day with the expectation of helping people and ... improving our pupil- transportation program.”
Braham is the second public official involved in a recent traffic violation.
County Auditor Michael Sciortino paid a $50 fine and $80 court costs for a ticket he received May 26 for failing to drive within marked lines on U.S. Route 224 east of Raccoon Road.
That incident led Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene to launch an investigation into the conduct of the office’s sergeant who cited Sciortino as well as the conduct of a member of the office’s top command staff.