Leetonia man’s vehicular assault trial set for Dec. 16

LISBON – A Leetonia area man facing several charges including aggravated vehicular assault in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court will again have his case set for a jury trial, but not on Monday as it was recently set.

Thomas Peterson, 49, St. Jacob-Logtown Road, Leetonia, had initially been scheduled for a jury trial on the morning of Monday, Nov. 18. Prior to that date, Peterson reportedly told his attorney he planned to plead, so the jury was canceled prior to Monday’s hearing. He then changed his mind about pleading on Monday morning and asked to be allowed to hire attorney Peter Horvath instead of his current defense attorney Richard Hura.

At a status conference on Thursday, Judge Scott Washam granted the request allowing Horvath to take over the case and dismissing Hura as the attorney of record. Additionally, Washam moved the latest jury trial date from Monday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 16 to give Horvath some time to become acquainted with all the evidence Hura gave him this past Monday.

Peterson is charged with aggravated vehicular assault for his alleged part in a car accident, which injured Lynn Mitchell on April 13, 2013 at the intersection of state Routes 7 and 14. At the time, Peterson was reportedly fleeing from state troopers and ran the red light at the intersection crashing into Mitchell’s vehicle. Additionally, he is charged with possession of drugs (cocaine), tampering with evidence and failure to comply with a police order. Peterson is also accused of attempting to hide a crack cocaine pipe.

He also has two previous convictions for failure to comply with a police officer in Mahoning County in 2004 and 2005.