Man gets two years for leading cops on chase

By Joe Gorman


Barry Heath told a judge Tuesday that “love makes you do some pretty stupid things.”

He led police who were answering a gunfire call on a chase.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, however, said those stupid things should not include firing a gun and at a house and leading police on a chase, so he sentenced the 41-year- old Heath to two years in prison.

Heath pleaded guilty in May to third-degree felony charges of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and tampering with evidence. Police said they were called March 30 to a home on East Indianola Avenue for a report of someone firing shots at the home.

On the way to the home an officer spotted a car Heath was driving, which matched the same car the suspect was supposed to be in. However, the car did not stop when police tried to pull it over and led officers on a chase over several South Side streets before Heath ran into a pole and was arrested.

Assistant Prosecutor Michael Rich said police retraced the route of the chase and found a .40-caliber handgun. Shell casings at the East Indianola Avenue home matched that gun, Rich said.

A presentence investigation recommended probation with some local jail time and Renee DiSalvo, Heath’s attorney, asked for Judge Krichbaum to follow the agreement. She said her client works, has always worked and supports a girlfriend and their children.

Heath’s girlfriend, who called 911 that evening, was present in court and also asked that Judge Krichbaum follow the recommendation. She was at the home when Heath fired the shots and said his behavior was out of character.

“He’s normally not anything like that,” she said. “I shouldn’t have been where I was, and he flew off the deep end. I just want to get him home as fast as I can because his kids miss him.”

Judge Krichbaum said he was perplexed as to why a gun charge that was filed against Heath was dropped. He said Heath’s actions endangered the officers who tried to stop him and anyone who was on the road when he was being chased or anyone who may have been hit by the gun he fired. He asked how he could ignore that.

“I cannot ignore the fact a gun was involved in this and there was a police chase and a just unbelievable danger to the community,” Judge Krichbaum said.

Heath said he was not thinking clearly that night and added that “love makes you do some pretty stupid things, and I wasn’t in my right state of mind. I’m sorry.”

Judge Krichbaum, however, rejected the sentencing recommendation, saying that Heath’s actions put too many people in danger.

Heath has credit for 103 days served in the county jail awaiting the outcome of his case.

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