Mahoning deputy cited for drunken driving has had past problems
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested and charged with drunken driving after an accident has faced other issues in the course of his employment with the county, said Sheriff Jerry Greene.
Deputy Kenneth O’Rourke, 52, of South Raccoon Road, Canfield, is on paid administrative leave from the sheriff’s department after reportedly crashing into two parked cars while driving drunk Sunday. The accident took place on South Raccoon Road.
Greene said the accident is under investigation, but O’Rourke could be terminated pending on the outcome of the investigation.
According to an arrest report from the sheriff’s department, O’Rourke was traveling south on South Raccoon just before 10 p.m. Sunday when he went off the right side of the road and into a ditch.
The report says O’Rourke, driving a white Ford SUV, then crossed the center line, went off the left side of the road and hit a truck parked in a driveway. The impact from the accident pushed the truck into another parked car.
There were no major injuries from the accident. O’Rourke was treated at the scene by paramedics.
He has been charged with driving over the legal limit and failure to control. O’Rourke’s blood alcohol level was .242 – more than three times the legal limit of .08 – Greene said.
O’Rourke has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in Mahoning County Area Court in Canfield next Friday.
Greene said O’Rourke has been a member of the department since 2007.
“He has had some issues and has been put on administrative leave in the past due to a protection issue,” Greene said. “He has never had a DUI in the past but has had some issues during his employment.”
Maj. William Cappa- bianca said O’Rourke’s wife filed a protection order against him in 2010. He took part in anger-management sessions, and the order was dismissed.
Cappabianca said O’Rourke was arrested in 2012 on a charge of domestic violence and also put on administrative leave at that time. He underwent court- imposed counseling through the Employee Assistance Program, Cappabianca said, and those charges ultimately were dropped in the court system. O’Rourke was then cleared to return to work.
“We are very disappointed by this [DUI charge], and this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Greene said. “When someone acts like this, it gives our entire department a black eye.”