Man gets two years in chase

By Joe Gorman


Drug charges played a role in two cases Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum sentenced Tyrone Chatman, 20, of Early Road, to two years in prison on drug charges and a charge of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.

An officer tried to pull Chatman over March 22 for not having a front license plate, but he led police on a chase before crashing into a tree on Summer Street on the South Side. He refused to get out of his car, reports said.

Reports said Chatman had 14 bullets in his pocket, a pound of marijuana and 222 painkillers.

Judge Krichbaum said prison time is necessary because people need to know they cannot lead police on a chase, and also because a large amount of drugs was involved.

“Somehow ... the judges have to give a message to the community that you have to respect police officers,” Judge Krichbaum said.

Chatman, who was free on bail pending sentencing, was given credit for five days served in the county jail.

In Judge Lou D’Apolito’s courtroom, Dena Byrd, 43, of South Dunlap Avenue, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of cocaine and an attempt of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Byrd’s plea agreement calls for probation with the first six months of that probation to be served in the county jail.

Byrd was charged after members of the vice squad and Community Police Unit served a search warrant at her West Side home investigating drug activity March 2, and they found two guns and drugs.

Lynn Maro, Byrd’s attorney, told the judge the guns did not belong to her client but to others in the household who were staying there.

Maro said Byrd had taken responsibility for the cocaine that was there, and she decided to plead guilty to the reduced weapons charge because she did not want to take a chance at trial.

“I guess the moral of this story is you have to be careful about who resides with you,” Judge D’Apolito said.

Byrd will be sentenced at a later date after a pre-sentence investigation.

Under terms of the plea agreement, the two guns police found – a Colt .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and a Smith & Wesson 9 mm semiautomatic pistol – will be forfeited to police and destroyed.

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