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UPDATE | Traficant 'critical;' doctors to make determination within 72 hours

Published: Wed, September 24, 2014 @ 2:16 p.m.


Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

GREENFORD — Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. is in “very critical condition” after an accident on his family farm, his wife, Tish Traficant, said today.

The former congressman, 73, is “sedated and he’s not doing well,” his wife told The Vindicator a few minutes before heading back to the St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where he was taken after first being rushed to Salem Regional Hospital.

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 when the vehicle struck a large steel blade on the ground, said Goshen Police Chief Steve T. McDaniel.

That caused the tractor to flip with Traficant still in the vehicle’s seat, but trapped with the tractor on top of him, McDaniel said.

Andrew Thomson of Mercer, Pa., was looking at farm equipment with Traficant, when he saw Traficant go into the barn and was talking with the former congressman.

When Thomson didn’t get a response from Traficant, he checked the barn, saw Traficant under the tractor and called 911, McDaniel said.

It is believed that Traficant suffered a heart attack on the tractor, said Linda Kovachik, a longtime family friend and former aide when Traficant was in Congress.

“Jim Traficant would have jumped off the tractor” under normal circumstances, she said.

Traficant is in a medically-induced coma with numerous tests and scans being done, said Kovachik, who spent several hours today with members of his family at the hospital.

Doctors will determine if there is any brain activity about 72 hours after he was brought to St. Elizabeth, Kovachik said.

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

After the accident, emergency responders were there in minutes, lifted the tractor and administered CPR to Traficant, McDaniel said. They also got Traficant out of the barn because gas was leaking from the tractor, he said.

Elizabeth H. Traficant, one of his daughters, is the owner of record of the 76-acre farm at 6908 W. South Range Road since Dec. 10, 1999.

Her father, the Mahoning Valley’s most famous and infamous politician of the last half-century, was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 4, 2001.

The farm was a key location in Traficant’s political corruption trial in 2002. Among his convictions was having contractors do work at the farm for political favors, and having congressional staff members work there while on federal time.

Traficant served more than 17 years in the U.S. House as a Democrat before being expelled in July 2002. That came after a federal jury convicted him of 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery, tax evasion and obstruction of justice.

He unsuccessfully ran for re-election from prison in 2002, and in 2010, the year he was released, as an independent losing both times to Democrat Tim Ryan, a former Traficant aide.

Vindy.com will post further updates as they become available.


1CongressWatcher(225 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

God Bless, Jimbo! Prayers going your way!

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2meandoctorx(15 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

sure hope he pulls through !!

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3Roger_Thornhill(1053 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago


Eye of the Tiger!

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4redeye1(5540 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Hey Jim , We are praying for you . Hang tough just like you did in congress. Don't give up! We are all behind you God Bless You and your family

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5300(573 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Shame this didn't happen to him 30 years ago.

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6Silence_Dogood(1665 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

I find it odd that of the 14 comments submitted only 3 made it to actually being posted. They must have been mean and nasty comments, kind of like the mean and nasty picture the Vindy posted in it's print edition. On the very day the man lies in a coma on what will most likely be his death bed, the Vindy decides to print a picture of him in handcuffs. Class act Vindy.

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7Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

quick and speedy recovery then take it easy you have earned it.

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8teppo(2 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

It's amazing that the low-brow citizens of Youngstown continue to praise this man as some sort of Saint.

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9tjdavid21444(1 comment)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Congressman Trafficant will always be one of my favorite people in politics. Never afraid to speak his mind and call out the ridiculousness he observed. Who can forget his speeches, often to empty house chambers, where he took to task some of the more idiotic activities that congress had engaged itself in? And always, with the closing phrase "Beam me up". Well, Congressman, I certainly hope it isn't time for God to "Beam you up" just yet. Prayers for a recovery.

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10rlray(1 comment)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

I pray for a speedy recovery for Cong. Traficant, if it is God's Will, and for a peaceful and happy, holy death, if it is his time.

If Vindy.com wants to do a real service, it should make a major investigation of the the phony conviction on trumped-up charges, which sent Mr. Traficant to prison. Powerful people in Washington and Tel Aviv had a score to settle with him, both because of his political integrity and hard fighting in Congress, and because of his saving the unjustly accused John Demjanjuk from the Israeli gallows.

A real tribute to Mr. Traficant would be to expose the criminals in the FBI and judiciary who put him behind bars. Although offered either a pardon or clemency by Pres. Bush, the Congressman refused, as he would have had to admit to wrongdoing. He preferred to serve out his 7-year prison sentence unjustly, rather than admit to crimes he never committed. That is the level of Mr. Traficant's integrity!

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11kurtw(1712 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

for: teppo: "It's amazing that the low-brow citizens, etc, etc" I didn't agree with his politics either but it's tacky to kick a man when he's down. Whatever he's done, he doesn't deserve to have a 1943 Ford Tractor roll on him. I hope he pulls through.

P.S. Teppo, you sound like the kind of guy who'd come across somebody at an intersection run over by a truck, and you'd look down on him and say: "See, that's what you get for jay-walking!"

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