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Lamp found guilty of failure to comply, but avoids felony

LISBON — Justin Lamp on Tuesday was found guilty of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer by a county Common Pleas Court jury, but not of the part of the charge that makes it a felony.

The jury determined Lamp, 41, Foundry Hill Road, Summitville, was guilty of failing to stop when sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Steve Walker tried to pull him over on Jan. 7, 2019. However, the jury also did not find his actions caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property. That determination makes the charge a first-degree misdemeanor instead of a third-degree felony.

Judge Scott Washam determined sentencing would be held this morning after defense attorney Jennifer Gorby noted Lamp, who is currently in custody, may already have served the six months maximum jail sentence for the first-degree misdemeanor charge. The felony charge could have rendered up to three years in prison.

Before the jury reached the verdict on Tuesday, Lamp took the stand in his own defense, attempting to explain his actions.

Differing from Walker’s testimony on Monday, Lamp said he could not have been traveling the speeds of 75 to 80 mph Walker said because the transmission on his mother’s GMC Jimmy was in poor condition and slipped anytime the vehicle went out of first gear. Additionally, he said he has been driving those roads for many years and on those roads he would suggest a safer speed would be 25 to 30 mph, not the 55 mph the two detectives from the sheriff’s office said some of those roads’ speed limits are because it is unposted.

While the detectives, Walker and Sgt. Jeff Haugh, both talked about how dangerous the speeds being traveled were to others, Lamp testified he saw no other traffic, no one walking near the roads and no people outside their homes.

During the trial, Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones asked Lamp about his prior convictions, which include felonies in several counties — Columbiana, Mahoning, Carroll and Stark. The charges include burglaries, breaking and enterings, receiving stolen properties, thefts, failure to pay child support and drug-related charges. Additionally, Jones noted Lamp has 14 convictions for driving under suspension. Lamp said he did not remember them all and asked about the relevance of her questions.

Lamp did admit to having past problems with Walker, who he said lives in the same area of the county he does. As Washam continued to caution Lamp about what he could say, Lamp claimed Walker has driven people he knows off the road in his personal vehicle and there have been threats made against Lamp by Walker.

“I have a long history with Mr. Walker,” Lamp said, alluding his reason for not stopping was because he wanted to be in a more public place when he stopped.

After traveling the 5.5 miles with Walker behind him using lights and sirens on his unmarked vehicle to try to stop him, the vehicle Lamp was driving stopped at the end of his mother’s driveway where his sister lived across the road.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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