Probation violations threaten freedom

LISBON — The probation violations continue to accumulate for the Leetonia man convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and fleeing the scene of an accident in the 2012 traffic death that claimed the life of 9-year-old Olivia S. Thompson in Salem.

Todd R. Roberts, 34, of Coal Alley, was back in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Monday to determine whether he should be punished for violating the terms of his probation. Roberts, who is out on probation after serving a 45-month prison sentence, was cited for failing two drug tests and obtaining a driver’s license from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles despite it being suspended.

At September hearing, Judge C. Ashley Pike said he wanted more time before deciding whether to revoke Roberts’ probation and send him back to prison for another three years, which is the sentence being recommended by the county prosecutor’s office. The judge said continuing the hearing until Dec. 3 would give Roberts one last chance to comply.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office filed a motion on Friday saying there is probable cause to believe Roberts violated his probation again by attending only two of the required substance abuse counseling sessions since May. The adult probation department reported that since the September hearing Roberts canceled one appointment and did not show up for another, but he did attend a Nov. 29 session.

Attorney Fred Naragon, who is representing Roberts, said he was prepared to stipulate his client has violated his probation but had just received Friday’s filing. Naragon asked for additional time so he could review the latest alleged probation violation.

Pike scheduled a hearing for 3:40 p.m. Dec. 14.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones was fine with that but expressed her concern about any further delays given Roberts’ track record.

“We have a great deal of concern about how this defendant has been conducting himself while on probation,” she said, adding the Thompson family is “very upset” about what has transpired.

The accident occurred on Nov. 9, 2012. Roberts was reportedly driving recklessly on East State Street in Salem when his pickup truck struck Thompson, who was crossing the street. Roberts left the scene and turned himself into police the next day. He admitted to having been drinking at a Salem bar prior to the accident.

Roberts served 45 months of a 48-month prison sentence imposed on the aggravated vehicular homicide charge. A three-year prison sentence was imposed on the fleeing the scene of an accident charge, but it was suspended by Pike. This is the sentence that could be enacted if Roberts is found to have violated his probation.