County man in custody after running from police

LISBON – A county man known among local law enforcement for his stints of running from police is again in custody.

County sheriff’s deputies and the U.S. Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Task Force took Tom Peterson into custody Tuesday after following up on several tips.

Peterson, 49, whose addresses are listed at Speidel Road, Hanoverton, and St. Jacob-Logtown Road, Leetonia, was located Tuesday afternoon at the Colonial Inn, U.S. Route 62, Damascus.

The county sheriff’s office had offered a reward last week for information leading to Peterson’s arrest and soon heard he may be traveling in the area between Alliance and Salem. Eventually, he was tracked down at the Colonial Inn.

Now in custody, Peterson has been served with a secret indictment for an additional charge of failure to appear, a fourth-degree felony. Peterson is accused of not appearing in county Common Pleas Court on Feb. 13.

On that date, he had been scheduled to appear for a sentencing hearing on charges of aggravated vehicular assault, possession of drugs, tampering with evidence and failure to comply with an order of a police officer. Peterson had pleaded guilty to those charges in December.

The indictment for the new failure to appear charge was issued by the grand jury in February, shortly after Peterson’s hearing. The woman he was accused of striking with his vehicle, Lynn Mitchell, while running from state troopers at the intersection of state Routes 7 and 14 in Columbiana, appeared at the hearing on Feb. 13.

This was not the first time Peterson has been charged in relation to fleeing from law enforcement. He has to previous convictions for failure to comply with a police officer in Mahoning County in 2004 and 2005.

On Wednesday, a new sentencing hearing was set for Peterson, who is now in custody in the county jail. He is now scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, a hearing where he is facing up to eight and a half years in prison and a $27,500 fine.

Whatever his sentence may be, any prison time will be served concurrently with a recent conviction in Mahoning County. There he was sentenced in January to six months in prison by Judge Lou D’Apolito for possession of cocaine, possession of heroin and possession of drugs.

Additionally, he will now face the failure to appear charge, which will be treated as a separate felony and any prison time could run consecutively. He is due to be arraigned on that charge next week in county Common Pleas Court.