Warren councilwoman Cheryl Saffold, cited Wednesday for speeding and for having expired and fictitious plates by a city police officer, says she didn't try use her position on council to influence the police officer to not cite her for the violations.
She may not have directly asked for special treatment, but she was hoping for a warning by mentioning that she was on city council.
According to audio recorded on the police officer's dashboard camera from the traffic stop on South Avenue right around 7:30 p.m., Saffold, a Democrat, told the police officer she was on her way to a council meeting. Later, she introduced herself as Councilwoman Saffold.
She told the police officer that she just got a call that her godbrother had been shot dead in a park, ''yeah, and I'm on my way to city council, I'm a city councilwoman,'' she said.
Saffold asked the police officer if he is allowed to give a warning. He said yes, to which she responded, ''and this didn't merit a warning?''
Saffold was driving double the 25 mph speed limit, the vehicle had plates that expired in 2011 and were fictitious. The rear plate was not registered to the vehicle. She was driving a relative's vehicle.
''I was just surprised that you didn't take into consideration that I was on my way to a city council meeting,'' she said.
''Well my concern is the excessive speed,'' the police officer said.
In an interview with Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News, she said she had just gotten a call from a minister who indicated that a family member was found dead in a park, and that she was on her way to city council to tell them she could not stay because she had to rush to the hospital.
Why not call any one of the other members of city council or council president or council clerk or mayor to say she could not attend because of a family emergency rather than speed to the meeting to say she couldn't be there?
Apparently, she did.
Saffold said she called the city council clerk to say she would miss the caucus session, but would try to make it to the meeting.
She said when she couldn't get in touch with someone to get more information about the emergency situation, she figured she had better stop and tell someone she would miss the meeting.
Saffold said she had to stop because she left her cellphone at home. She made the call to the clerk from her home phone, she said.
She told WYTV that at no time did she ask for special treatment. ''Why should I? I'm on par with everyone else. I don't deserve any special treatment,'' she said.
The relative was later found at Trumbull Memorial Hospital and since has been released. The relative who owned the vehicle called police about two hours after the traffic stop to report the plate of his vehicle had been stolen.
Saffold was cited in March in Warren for driving left of center and for driving under suspension.The driving under suspension charge was dismissed because Saffold reinstated her license, but she was fined $25 and ordered to pay court costs for the left of center citation.
Saffold pleaded not guilty Friday to the latest charges in Warren Municipal Court. She's due back in September.
The annual Trumbull County Republican Party annual summer picnic will be Aug. 11 at the Creed Farm on Anderson Morris Road.
Party chairwoman Kathi Creed said anyone can attend. Candidates for office and high ranking Republicans in Ohio have attended in the past, including former state party chairman Kevin DeWine. Creed said Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Sharon Kennedy, who is running for Ohio Supreme Court, might attend this year.