Man sentenced after high-speed chase

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2006

A man who led local authorities on a high-speed chase through Ironton will have a year to think about what he did.

Johnny E. Keaton, 35, of 2856 County Road 21, Ironton, was sentenced

to a year in prison Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. He was found guilty of a single count of third-degree felony failure to comply with the order and signal of a police officer last Monday during a one-day trial.

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Keaton was pulled over on South Third Street, but drove away after the police officer who was trailing him stopped the cruiser. Keaton pulled out, turned onto Fourth Street and continued to Lawrence Street Road where he wrecked his vehicle and fled on foot. He was caught a short time later.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said the pursuit through Ironton reached a speed of 70 miles an hour at times as Keaton ran red lights and stop signs in an effort to elude authorities. He recommended a four-year prison sentence for Keaton.

“This posed a serious risk of physical harm to people in the community,” he said.

But David Reid Dillon, Keaton’s attorney, argued that while he appreciated the jury’s decision and the seriousness of what happened, Keaton had otherwise been a good citizen.

“He’s had a few misdemeanors from long ago. He works, he has two children, he’s a single parent. He’s doing everything he can to help raise them. He is not the typical person who comes into this court with no remorse and no sense of responsibility,” Dillon said.

Judge Richard Walton gave Keaton credit for time served in jail awaiting resolution of his case. Once he is released from prison he is subject to three years community controlled sanctions. He was also ordered to pay all court costs.

Keaton said he would appeal his conviction and sentence.

In other news, a woman who was let out of jail to say goodbye to ill family members before going to prison was arraigned Wednesday on an escape charge.

Kimberly Maggard, 41, of 27 Private Drive 708, South Point, entered a plea of not guilty through her attorney, Philip Heald. She will return to court Sept. 13 for a pretrial conference.

Maggard was arrested June 2 along with her boyfriend, Charles Tabler and two other people in a drug raid in South Point. She had been previously arrested on a burglary charge. She pleaded guilty to both the burglary and drug charges July 12 and was sentenced at that time to

five years in prison on the burglary conviction. Judge Frank McCown withheld sentencing on the drug convictions since Maggard had agreed to testify against others arrested with her. He allowed her to be free on bond for two weeks so she could visit with a very ill family member but at that time cautioned her that failure to turn herself into authorities as scheduled would result in an escape charge. If she is convicted of the escape charge, any sentence she receives for it would be served consecutive to sentences for any other convictions.