20/20 looks at Hubbard horn-honking incidents
By JEANNE STARMACK
A horn-honking harassment case here will get national attention on network news.
ABC’s “20/20” was in Hubbard this week to interview people involved in the case. The news program also interviewed Mayor John Darko, he confirmed Friday.
The case involves Garrick Krlich, who lives at 713 E. Liberty St.
Krlich has said he and his wife, Lucinda, have been the victims of harassment by people who drive by his house and honk their horns.
Darko said he’s “not excited” about the publicity, because the horn-honking case, which continued for years, has quieted down.
Krlich said Friday the honking still continues.
It started as a real-estate dispute after Krlich tried unsuccessfully to buy the house at 723 E. Liberty St. when it became vacant in 2007. John J. Clemente, whose relatives had lived in the house, acquired it in 2009, according to Vindicator files.
Since then, the Krliches have filed numerous police reports about what they say is a harassment campaign by city residents, even some public employees, who drive by their house. Krlich began videotaping the honking and has hundreds of incidents on CDs, Vindicator files say.
The couple filed 70 police reports in 21/2 years. They filed for more than 20 protection orders in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, with at least 12 that were granted. Some were voluntarily dismissed by the Krliches, and several were denied by the court magistrate, Vindicator files say.
Police Chief Jim Taafe, who has been chief since 2011, said the case took up a lot of hours for the police department.
“Yeah, it sure did,” Taafe said, adding that previous Mayor Richard Keenan directed the department to post police in the area.
“We weren’t able to sustain it,” Taafe said. “It’s not practical.” He said that while police were stationed in the neighborhood, there were two or three violations. He said police aggressively enforced against horn-honking there.
Darko said complaints have slowed down.
He said even though he’s not excited about the national attention, he understands that “if the parties want to do it, that’s their prerogative. It’s not the whole community.”
Krlich said he does not know why the horn-honking continues even after he lost the real-estate dispute.
He also said he isn’t worried the national exposure will make the situation worse.
“It’s never going to end because this house is targeted,” he said, adding he hopes the exposure will lead to prosecution of the people harassing him and his wife.