Saturday, September 1, 2018
By Joe Gorman
Judge Elizabeth Kobly spent part of her last day on the bench Friday in municipal court sentencing a woman to 90 days in jail after she pleaded guilty to her fifth charge of driving drunk.
The judge said she was worried if she did not take action that Shirley Zelanka, 60, might kill someone in the future, but Zelanka, who was shaking the entire time during the hearing, told the judge “No, I’m not.”
“I won’t drive, then,” Zelanka said, adding she did not want to go to jail for a long time.
Judge Kobly, however, said she did not believe Zelanka because of her track record of arrests for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which dates back to 1993.
Zelanka pleaded guilty in July to the charges. She was charged March 14 after she was pulled over on Interstate 680.
Zelanka also said she did not believe she was drunk when she was pulled over.
“I didn’t feel I was intoxicated enough that I couldn’t drive,” Zelanka said.
Judge Kobly said if someone had given Zelanka some serious jail time in 1993 there may have been no reason to be in court Friday. She said she would do all she could to ensure that Zelanka knows the consequences of driving drunk.
“I want to apologize for my ignorance, and I promise I won’t do this anymore,” Zelanka said.
Zelanka’s driver’s license is also suspended for five years, and she must get restrictive plates and an ignition lock if she ever gets her license back.
Judge Kobly gave her until next Friday to report to the Mahoning County jail. If she violates her probation, she will go to jail for nine more months.
Judge Kobly announced earlier this summer she was stepping down from the bench. She had been serving as a judge since 2000. Her successor has not been named.