YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man who pleaded guilty to hitting a city police officer with an all-terrain vehicle must serve six months in the Mahoning County Jail.
The jail term is part of a five-year sentence of probation handed down Monday for Kenneth Vaughn, 20, of Douglas Avenue, who pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and a charge of receiving stolen property.
Vaughn was charged after police were called Jan. 13 to East High Avenue for a report of ATVs in the road.
Reports said when an officer got there, Vaughn walked away from him, then jumped on an ATV and drove straight at the officer, striking him in the leg before colliding with his cruiser.
The ATV was reported stolen, reports said.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum said typically he would send someone who assaulted a police officer to prison, but he added the fact that Vaughn has no prior criminal record and that the charges he pleaded guilty to call for a sentence of probation factored into his decision.
Judge Krichbaum warned Vaughn that if he violates his probation, he will be rearrested and serve a three-year prison sentence.
“People who disrespect cops in this court pay a price,” Judge Krichbaum said. “You can’t disrespect a cop.”
After the sentence was handed down, Vaughn apologized and said the whole incident unfolded “because of a bad clutch situation.”
“I didn’t mean no disrespect to the officer or the Youngstown Police Department,” Vaughn said.
Judge Krichbaum said he also took into account the fact that Vaughn apologized to the officer right after he was hit.
The officer was not seriously injured and remained on duty.