Austintown man pleads guilty to 17th OVI

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An Austintown man will be sentenced Jan. 5 after pleading guilty to his 17th charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

David Thomas Black, 62, entered his plea to a third-degree felony charge of OVI before Judge John Durkin in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Prosecutors are recommending the minimum 120-day prison term as well as lifetime license suspension. A charge of leaving the scene of an accident was dropped in exchange for Black’s plea.

Drug and alcohol treatment is also mandatory. However, Black’s attorney, Tony Meranto, said his client has already begun substance abuse counseling. His bond has been continued as he awaits sentencing. He has never been to prison before.

The maximum prison term for a third-degree felony is three years in prison.

Black was indicted July 22 by a grand jury for a June 10 accident about 8:35 p.m. at Silica and Ohltown roads in Austintown. A township police report said officers were called after a car collided with the back of another vehicle and the car drove away.

The driver of the vehicle tried to catch up to the the car but lost it, however, police were able to find it in the back yard of Black’s Ohltown Road home.

Reports said police found Black at the home and he denied driving but his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol. Later, while questioned by police, he admitted he could be cited for driving under suspension, which was an admission that he was driving, reports said.

Black refused to take a breath test.

Black has had 14 misdemeanor convictions dating back to April of 1977 and two felony convictions, in December of 2009 and January of 2018, according to a township police report of his arrest.

In his two previous felony cases, Black was also ordered to undergo mandatory drug and alcohol counseling and was also given 60-day jail sentences.

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