METRO DIGEST || Child now with aunt

Child now with aunt


The 4-year-old East Liverpool boy whose picture of him in a car’s backseat while his grandmother was overdosing from opiates in the front went viral on social media in September, is no longer in the woman’s custody. Emergency personnel used Narcan, the opiate antidote, to revive Rhonda Pasek, 50, who had custody of the child because a court deemed his parents unfit due to their history of drug use, according to 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner. During a court hearing Monday, a judge granted permanent custody to Lori Lane, the child’s aunt, and her husband, Terry, of South Carolina. Charged with child endangering, Pasek will remain in jail until March 6, 2017.

Ruiz plea entered


Youngstown State University running back Martin Ruiz pleaded not guilty Wednesday to weapons charges stemming from a Dec. 6 traffic stop in Tallmadge. He faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon and improper handling of a firearm. According to a police report, he was pulled over after failing to signal a turn. Police said the car smelled of marijuana and parts of the plant were found in the driver’s seat. A loaded handgun was found in the glove compartment. Ruiz told police the gun wasn’t his. He was one of five players suspended for failing an NCAA drug test. The others were Darien Townsend, LeRoy Alexander, Jameel Smith and Robert Byrd. They will not appear in YSU’s Jan. 7 championship contest against James Madison.

Targeting drug abuse


To address the safety and economic threat of drug abuse in the workplace, the Trumbull and Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery boards have partnered with 20 local stakeholders and Working Partners to launch the Working Partners Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative in the counties. During the recent initial stakeholder meeting, the group learned about the objectives of the initiative: to increase workforce readiness and employability; build healthier, stronger, more productive workplaces; and to create systems to educate employees to prevent drug use among that population.

Facing theft charge


Township police arrested a suspect who they said failed to pay the taxi driver who drove her to court, according to a police report. The cab driver told police Jah’najha Bowers, 20, of Akron, asked to be driven to Mahoning County Area Court at 8110 Market St. Tuesday for a probation-violation hearing on a previous theft charge, according to court records. She went inside and upon returning to the cab, told the driver she couldn’t afford the $50 fare, police said. Bowers was arrested on a charge of theft, taken to Boardman Police Department for booking and returned to Mahoning County Area Court for arraignment.

Heroin found in wallet


Township police stopped a Struthers woman who was driving a vehicle with a cracked windshield Tuesday and found her in possession of heroin, according to a report. Pamela Vitucci, 52, appeared nervous during the stop on South Avenue near Simon Road, but consented to a vehicle search, where police found the drug in her wallet, the report says. Vitucci admitted the substance was heroin, which the officers confirmed through testing. She is charged with drug possession, posted a $2,500 bond and is to appear in Mahoning County Area Court here today.

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