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Visiting judge in motorcycle death case says she was not given full details

Visiting judge in motorcycle death case says she was not given full details

CAMPBELL — A Mahoning County visiting judge this week entered formal comments into the court record that criticize the handling of a traffic case involving the death of a Youngstown woman.

In June, Gloria Dothard, 65, of Coitsville, turned her vehicle left in front of three motorcyclists on Route 616. Though Dothard’s vehicle never made contact with any of the bikers, it set off a crash that injured all three motorcyclists. One rider, Patricia Hagerty, ultimately died Oct. 30 from the injuries she sustained in the crash.

Dothard entered into a plea agreement Aug. 18 in Campbell Municipal Court before Visiting Judge Miriam Ocasio. She pleaded guilty to failure to yield on a left turn and a minor misdemanor of no tail light. Neither offense is jailable. She was fined $100.

According to judgment entry notes in that case, Ocasio said neither defense attorney Brian Tareshawty nor then-Campbell Law Director Brian Macala made her aware that the case involved an accident or an injured party. If they had brought that to her attention, she said she would not have accepted the plea agreement.

The court notes state the visiting judge ordered Tareshawty to bring Dothard back to court to discuss the case further, but he did not comply.

Macala filed an oral motion to reset the case, but it was not until Sept. 17 when Ocasio ordered him to file a written motion for a new hearing to be set Nov. 28. That also did not happen.

Ocasio noted that on Monday she was drawn into an exchange via text message with Macala that argued the validity and necessity for the hearing. Macala told Ocasio he would not be filing the motion, that the judgment would stand and that he had told Tareshawty to “forget about it.”

Because there is no filing for a new hearing, Ocasio stated in the notes that the court has no jurisdiction to vacate the plea agreement.

She expressed frustration and regret about the case in the judgment notes.

“I am not happy with the manner in which this case was handled,” she wrote, noting that the victim and her family should have been notified by the court about the plea agreement, under Marsy’s Law, and they were not.

“I want to make it very clear that this acting judge was never told the facts and nature of this case, and I am extremely upset and feel like I was misled from all parties. The court offers its sincerest condolences to the victim’s family, as the victim has since passed away.”

Court records show that on Oct. 31, a day after Hagerty died of her injuries from the crash, Macala did file assault charges against Dothard regarding the two other people injured in the crash. He told The Vindicator on Nov. 1 that he would have filed the same charges in regards to Hagerty, but decided to wait until after her autopsy was completed as it may affect the nature of the charges filed.

Macala did not seek reelection as law director in the November election because he instead ran for Campbell Municipal Court judge. He lost the election to Mark J. Kolmacic.

Campbell attorney Lamprini Mathews, who ran uncontested for Campbell law director in November, took over the post Friday, but could not immediately be reached for comment.

Macala, reached Friday, declined to comment on the case, stating it would be inappropriate because he is no longer the city’s law director.

“As I left, we were still in discussions with Ohio Highway Patrol, and I passed this to her, as she was preparing to come into office,” he said.

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