Salem man gets 2 years for 2015 road rage incident

LISBON — A Salem man convicted in a road rage accident involving a bicyclist was sentenced to two years in prison and had his license suspended for five years by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam on Thursday.

Stephen R. Bauman, 71, West School Street, Salem, was found guilty by Washam in March.

After hearing testimony from the victim, two witnesses and police who investigated the accident, the judge decided Bauman knowingly harmed Curtis Masters. He was found guilty of felonious assault and failure to stop after an accident.

Bauman had abruptly hit his brakes after going around Masters on North Ellsworth Avenue, causing the cyclist to crash into the bed of his truck in August 2015,

During the sentencing hearing, Bauman continued to say he did give Masters enough room that he did not strike him, but that he probably did come close to him. However, Bauman said he drove down the street another 25 yards before stopping and it was Masters’ momentum which carried him into the back of Bauman’s truck.

Bauman said he did not stop abruptly enough to cause skid marks. He also added Masters climbed out of the truck and struck Bauman twice before Bauman could drive away.

Bauman’s defense attorney, Joseph Ludovici, said he did not believe Masters was too injured, noting he was bumped and bruised but still was able to compete in some type of ironman competition not long after the accident. He also questioned why Masters was not at the sentencing hearing.

Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said Masters is still angry about what happened and it has caused him to change the way he rides. Gamble said he has personal experience with vehicle drivers not wanting to share the road with bicyclists.

Washam noted that one of the witnesses had testified Bauman used his truck as a weapon.

Prior to sentencing, Ludovici attempted to get the sentencing hearing postponed, noting another witness has come forward and a new trial may be in order. Washam said even if Ludovici files for a new trial, that does not need to stop the sentencing.

For now, Bauman is allowed to self report to the county jail by June 23, unless other motions are filed to appeal the conviction. Bauman reportedly has already hired an attorney for the appeal process.