Traficant remains sedated, critical, but not in coma, family spokeswoman says


GREENFORD

Family and friends of James A. Traficant Jr., the Mahoning Valley’s most famous and infamous politician of the last half century, are praying the former congressman can recover from serious injuries he received in a farm tractor accident.

Traficant, 73, was in “very critical condition,” his wife, Tish, told The Vindicator late Wednesday.

He is “sedated and he’s not doing well,” she said earlier in the day, just before leaving to be with her husband at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.

Linda Kovachik, a longtime family friend and former aide to Traficant when he was in Congress, said Traficant is in a medically induced coma with numerous tests and scans being done.

Atty. Heidi Hanni, however, disputed reports of a coma, saying that while he remains in critical condition, he is “sedated and resting comfortably.” Hanni, who is acting as the family’s spokeswoman, added that doctors are following a process so they “have time to figure out what the deal is.”

“The family is asking for privacy and prayers,” Hanni said.

Kovachik, who, like Hanni, spent several hours Wednesday with members of Traficant’s family at the hospital, said doctors will determine if there is any brain activity about 72 hours after he arrived at St. Elizabeth.

“If anyone can come out of this, it’s Jim Traficant,” she said.

Traficant was driving a 1943 Ford tractor about 7:50 p.m. Tuesday at his family farm on West South Range Road. About 140 feet into a large pole barn the vehicle struck a large steel blade on the ground, said Goshen Police Chief Steven T. McDaniel.

That caused the tractor to roll over backwards onto Traficant still in the driver’s seat, who was trapped underneath the vehicle, McDaniel said.

Kovachik said it is believed that Traficant suffered a heart attack, adding that under normal circumstances, “Jim Traficant would have jumped off the tractor” .

But Hanni said doctors have not yet confirmed that he suffered any heart attacks.

Read more about the accident and the former congressman in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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