Leetonia man wants trial for vehicular assault after all

LISBON – A Leetonia area man facing several charges including aggravated vehicular assault changed his mind about pleading Monday morning in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Thomas Peterson, 49, St. Jacob-Logtown Road, Leetonia, had initially been scheduled for a jury trial on Monday morning.

At a status conference last Thursday, Peterson had indicated he did not intend to plead guilty. Then he reportedly later spoke with his defense attorney, Richard Hura, indicating he would plead guilty on Monday.

The jurors for Monday’s trial were canceled and then Peterson reportedly changed his mind. He announced at Monday’s hearing he would not plead guilty and instead he would be hiring his own attorney, Peter Horvath, to defend him.

Judge Scott Washam set a new status conference for Thursday and another jury trial for next Monday for Peterson.

Peterson is charged with aggravated vehicular assault for his alleged part in a car accident which injured Lynn Mitchell on April 13, 2013. Additionally, he is charged with possession of drugs (cocaine), tampering with evidence and failure to comply with a police order.

According to court documents, Peterson attempted to hide a crack cocaine pipe and fled police who were attempting to stop him.

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