December 22, 2014

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Lorain auditor pleads not guilty to DUI charge

Ronald Mantini

Ronald Mantini

LORAIN — City Auditor Ron Mantini pleaded not guilty Tuesday to DUI and willful disregard of safety charges stemming from his arrest last week, his lawyer, J. Anthony Rich, said.

Mantini was pulled over around 9:15 p.m. Thursday on Oberlin Avenue near the intersection of Westwood Drive.

Lorain police Officer Craig Payne wrote that he spotted Mantini’s 2011 Jeep traveling at a high rate of speed and he began to follow it.

Payne wrote that Mantini stopped at a traffic light and accelerated when it turned green. Payne’s report said his police cruiser hit speeds of 88 mph trying to catch up to the Jeep that was still pulling away.

Payne activated his lights and sirens, and Mantini finally stopped the vehicle, the report said.

Mantini told Payne he’d had a few glasses of wine at the Jackalope before failing several field sobriety tests. A breath test showed that Mantini had a blood-alcohol level of 0.111, above the legal driving limit of 0.08.

Mantini has since said he made a mistake and apologized.

Lorain Law Director Pat Riley said his office will bring in a special prosecutor to handle the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Riley also said he’s been told that the two judges in Lorain Municipal Court will also remove themselves from the case and ask for a visiting judge to take over the matter.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.