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Reese, Sciortino trade jabs over apology for traffic stop

Published: Fri, February 14, 2014 @ 1:00 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino’s Republican opponent questions if an apology by the incumbent related to a controversial traffic stop nearly nine months ago is sincere.

A Summit County Sheriff’s Department investigation of the May 26, 2013, traffic stop determined Sciortino “failed miserably” a field sobriety test, but was initially only charged with a marked-lanes violation although, after an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Sciortino was also charged in October with failure to control.

Republican Bill Reese, a former eight-year Canfield Township trustee who’ll face Sciortino in the November general election, questioned why Sciortino, a Democrat, took so long to discuss the incident.

“He wouldn’t have come out and apologized if I didn’t file papers last week to run against him,” Reese said. “I’m an opponent he doesn’t want to face. I have integrity. He’s apparently running scared.”

In response, Sciortino said today that Reese’s criticism of his apology is a “desperate move. He’s trying to capitalize on an unfortunate situation. I made a bad decision and my apology is very sincere.”

Since his May 26, 2013, traffic stop, Sciortino has refused to discuss the matter. He emailed a prepared statement to the media on July 3 and Oct. 24 apologizing for the incident while refusing interviews.

But he’s finally broken his silence.

In an interview today with The Vindicator, Sciortino said he had a “few drinks. I don’t know the amount,” and had taken prescription medication for allergies when he was pulled over in Canfield Township by Sgt. James Touville of the county sheriff’s office.

“I shouldn’t have been driving,” he said. “I should have known better.”

When asked if he was intoxicated, Sciortino said, “I wouldn’t use the word intoxicated. It was an impairment. It was a bad decision and a bad situation.”

For the complete story, read Saturday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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