By Joe Gorman
When Ronny Daviduk was asked what options he has in fighting his heroin addiction problem as he was being sentenced Friday, he said they were death and jail.
Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court said there was a third one — recovery.
“It doesn’t have to be jail or death,” Judge Durkin said.
Daviduk, 29, of Elm Street in Struthers, who told the judge he had been addicted to heroin since he was 16, was sentenced to three years for the charges of breaking and entering, receiving stolen property and fleeing and eluding.
At the root of those crimes and several others dating back to 2001 is his addiction to heroin, said his attorney, Katherine Rudzik. She said most of his crimes are thefts to get money to buy drugs and that she had seen him before his last arrest in November when he was sober, and she said he looked like another person.
“I think he has the desire to stay sober, but not the skills,” Rudzik said.
Daviduk pleaded guilty to the charges in May. Boardman police say he was a suspect in the theft of a television from English’s Pub on Nov. 28 from an outdoor patio and that an officer spotted him driving a car on Midlothian Boulevard. But when police tried to stop him, he drove away through the South Side and Mill Creek Park before parking the car he was driving at a ravine near East Newport Drive and running away on foot.
Youngstown and Mill Creek MetroParks Police assisted and found Daviduk on a back porch of a Kiwatha Road home missing a shoe, reports said.
Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Trapp told Durkin prison was necessary because of Daviduk’s long criminal record. A search of Mahoning County records shows just more than 20 criminal charges have been filed against him in common pleas or county court since 2001.
Daviduk read from a handwritten statement before he was sentenced and told Durkin he knew he had made bad choices and that he had to face the consequences for what he had done. He said he was sorry for anyone he had hurt, especially his family and children.
He said he has two children and had a job working construction last year before he got arrested and was feeling good, but when the construction season began to slow down he said he started becoming anxious, and that’s when he got back into drugs.
“I got depressed and started using harder and harder,” Daviduk said. “I lost complete control of my life.”
Judge Durkin, who also runs the county’s drug court, said he sees people all the time who battle drug problems, and he mentioned a man he knows who died last week of a heroin overdose. He told Daviduk that beating drugs can be done.
“There are people who have been in here who have overcome,” Judge Durkin said. “It is possible.”