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Mahoning Judge pleads guilty

Krichbaum likely will face civil suit from Nov. 16 crash into bicyclist

Staff photo / David Skolnick ... Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, left, stands in Mahoning County Court in Canfield with his attorney, Ronald Yarwood, to plead guilty to two misdemeanors.

CANFIELD — R. Scott Krichbaum, a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge, pleaded guilty to charges of reckless operation and improperly overtaking / passing a vehicle for crashing his SUV into a bicyclist, but his legal issues stemming from the incident likely aren’t over.

Krichbaum, 71, of Boardman, was fined $400 with $100 in court costs Friday in Mahoning County Court in Canfield by David E. Stucki, a visiting judge from Stark County.

Krichbaum crashed Nov. 16 on Sharrott Road in Beaver into Cameron J. Wyant of Boardman, 19, who was thrown from his bicycle into a ditch.

Krichbaum left the scene, and his identity wasn’t discovered until a day later when his attorney, Ronald Yarwood, contacted Beaver police. Yarwood said the judge noticed the passenger-side mirror on his 2023 Kia Telluride SUV was missing and that he saw the accident on the local television news.

Restitution to Wyant, who suffered injuries, was supposed to be part of a deal worked out with Yarwood on behalf of Krichbaum, said Andrew Rogalski, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor assigned as special prosecutor for this case.

But Wyant is considering a civil case against Krichbaum so it wasn’t included in Friday’s sentencing, Rogalski said.

“I talked to the Wyant family about restitution in a criminal case vs. potentially seeking compensatory damages in a civil case,” Rogalski said. “The state was going to insist on restitution in the criminal case. But it was decided Cameron Wyant, through his attorney, would prefer to pursue that through a private criminal case.”

John Wyant, the victim’s father, said in court Friday that the “hit-and-run crash in which Mr. Krichbaum left my son lying in a ditch on the side of the road” was “so severe” that neighbors heard it and helped him while the judge drove away.

“He left my son alone and helpless on the side of the road crying out in pain without stopping or calling for help,” Wyant’s father said.

John Wyant added: “Those impacted by these crashes deserve better. Cameron deserves better. The people of this Valley deserve better.”

Cameron Wyant said after Krichbaum’s SUV hit him, it caused him to have numbness on his side, along with scar on the arm where he was hit.

His father said: “He has some ongoing issues that we’re just trying to deal with right now.”

Stucki said to Cameron Wyant: “I’m sorry you have to endure that. I wish you well in your future.”

Stucki, a retired family court judge, was appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy after the four Mahoning County Court judges recused themselves.

Rogalski said he and Yarwood worked out a “negotiated settlement” before the charges were filed.

The $400 fine was the maximum amount Krichbaum could have faced with $250 for reckless operation, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and $150 for the other charge, a minor misdemeanor.

“Quite candidly, my client wanted to come in and acknowledge responsibility, and he is doing that by pleading guilty,” Yarwood said.

Yarwood said Krichbaum “accepts full accountability by entering a plea here at arraignment.”

While the incident in Beaver occurred about 6 p.m. Nov. 16, charges weren’t filed until Dec. 30.

It took time for Wyant to contact Rogalski and for a settlement to be negotiated.

The passenger-side mirror was found by police at the scene of the incident and came off Krichbaum’s car after he struck the bicyclist while passing him. Krichbaum, through Yarwood, came forward a day after the incident.

Krichbaum, a Republican, was first elected to the common pleas court’s general division bench in 1990 after being a court bailiff and then a high-profile defense attorney. Krichbaum has been reelected to five additional six-year terms. He cannot run for reelection in 2026 because of the state’s age limit on judges.

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