A Ravenna Township man who pleaded guilty to his sixth drunken driving offense in the past 20 years has been sentenced to eight months in the Portage County jail, five years probation and a 15-year driver's license suspension.
However, there still is a possibility that James M. Goughler, 46, with a last known address of 3217 Meadowbrook Road, may be accepted for addiction counseling and treatment at the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program in Warren, a drug treatment center for convicted felons.
In her sentencing order, Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman ordered Goughler to be interviewed for a bed at NEOCAP, attend three addiction recovery meetings per week for a year while in the Portage County jail and upon his release, and find a full-time job within 18 months. She also fined him $1,500.
In addition, Goughler's driver's license was suspended for 15 years. After three years "hard time" suspension, Pittman ruled Goughler may have privileges to drive for work, probation and counseling appointments. Any vehicles he drives must have special restricted license plates and an ignition interlock device installed, she ordered.
Goughler faced a maximum of 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence, a fourth-degree felony, in October. The charge was based on an Aug. 6 arrest by Ravenna police on Cleveland Road.
Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said Ravenna police responded to a fast food restaurant on West Main Street on Aug. 6 after a report of an intoxicated driver in the drive-thru lane.
Officers saw Goughler's van headed north on Vine Street "entirely in the other lane," Vigluicci said. At one point, Goughler's van blocked both lanes of the roadway at the intersection of Vine Street and Highland Avenue, then crossed over the double yellow line several times before turning onto Cleveland Road, where officers stopped the van, he said.
Officers noticed a "strong odor" of alcohol on Goughler, who had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and "couldn't focus his attention" on the officers, Vigluicci said. Goughler fell three times at the scene and had to have an officer help him stand.
His blood alcohol content tested at 0.25, more than three times the legal limit, Vigluicci said.
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Well eight months and a free vacation in Warren will do little for this guy, but that seems to be the standard in Portage County, for anyone that uses drugs or alcohol. I wonder if the judges would be so lenient if they happen to be the one the drunk runs into.