Contrite sheriff pleads guilty to drunken driving

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Active Member
May 18, 2007
United States of America
This is the sheriff of the county i live in.


CAMBRIDGE —Apologizing for his actions, Columbiana County Sheriff David Smith pleaded guilty to a first-offense DUI charge Friday.

Smith, who was cited for drunken driving Oct. 11 in Guernsey County, was sentenced to a three-day driver intervention program, fined $600, placed on one year of probation, and had his driver’s license suspended for six months, retroactive to the date of his citation.

Before being sentenced, Smith apologized to the citizens of Columbiana and Guernsey counties, saying that he was “truly sorry for the situation.”

Judge John M. Nicholson told Smith that no one is perfect and he appreciated the sheriff’s willingness to accept responsibility for his actions.

“In this situation we don’t want Mr. Smith to be treated any better or any worse than anyone else,” the judge said.

Smith was returning from a Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association dinner in Columbus that October night when he was stopped for speeding and driving left of center. Those charges were dropped as a result of the plea deal.

“As soon as the trooper walked up to my door, I knew my career was in jeopardy,” Smith said. “The trooper that night was doing his job, and the Ohio State Patrol is a great agency. I wish I could take back that decision (to get behind the wheel). I would have stayed in Columbus.”

Smith apologized to Columbiana County residents, saying that from the moment the case made headlines he wanted to make a statement.

“I certainly apologize for the bad judgment I used, and I apologize for letting (the residents) down in my capacity as sheriff. It’s been quite an ordeal for myself, my family and my friends,” the sheriff said.

Having been with the sheriff’s office for 30 years and in his second term as sheriff, Smith plans to continue serving his the rest of his term, which ends Dec. 31.

“I certainly hope people don’t judge me on one huge mistake, one very bad mistake. I hope people look at the overall picture. I’m very proud of my career and of the people that work for me,” said Smith, adding that he has received cards and letters of encouragement from several people. “I will recover from this 100 percent and this office will recover.”

The sheriff’s ability to seek re-election was jeopardized following the citation, and as a result, Smith withdrew from the sheriff’s race in January.

“Once he pulled out of the race, it didn’t make any sense to continue to fight the case,” Smith’s attorney Bradley J. Koffel said, adding that he advised Smith to enter a not guilty plea in order to give him time to get to the bottom of the case. “The plea was entered on my advice. I didn’t do anything different in this case.”

Though he can attend a driver intervention course anywhere in the state, Smith chose not attend the course in the county.

“I’m going to move on with my life,” Smith said.

Trooper video or the actual stop->
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