Not-guilty plea entered for Howland trustee

Staff report


An attorney for Howland Township Trustee James J. Lapolla Jr. has filed a not-guilty plea for Lapolla to a drunken-driving charge.

Lapolla was scheduled for an arraignment Tuesday, but he did not have to appear in court. His case is set for a pretrial hearing at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 19.

Atty. Robert Shaker also requested a trial by jury, a motion seeking to suppress evidence and occupational driving privileges for Lapolla.

A Niles police officer cited Lapolla, 53, of Bayhill Drive in Warren, on charges of drunken driving and not driving in marked lanes at 2:11 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of U.S. Route 422 and Frederick Street after the officer saw Lapolla’s car stop abruptly at the stoplight at U.S. Route 422 and North Road.

According to the police report, Lapolla turned east on Route 422, and the vehicle traveled left of center and in the turn lane for about 400 meters. It then drifted left of the yellow lane marker, back into the travel lane and then in the turn lane. The officer then made a traffic stop.

Lapolla said he had consumed four drinks. He failed field-sobriety tests and was taken to the Niles Police Department. He refused to take a breath test to determine his blood-alcohol level and was released on a summons to appear in court.

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