DUI deal offered to Ater

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CHESAPEAKE — The legal woes of onetime Independent candidate for Lawrence County auditor could come to an end soon.

The Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office has offered to drop the DUI charges against Jon Ater of Chesapeake if he agrees to plead guilty to driving left of center and having an open container.

“The state doesn’t feel it has sufficient tests to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for the DUI,” Assistant Prosecutor Mack Anderson said.

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That deal was offered to Ater and his attorney William Eachus at a pre-trial hearing in Lawrence County Municipal Court before visiting judge Steven L. Story of Meigs County.

Ater was arrested May 3, hours after he filed paperwork to be on the Nov. 2, ballot for allegedly driving a Kubota tractor under the influence on State Route 243 in Union Township. At the time of the arrest, Ater called the charges “politically motivated” and vowed to fight them.

Ater was to have faced Democrat Steven Dale Burcham and Republican Jason Stephens in the race for county auditor. However on July 8, the Lawrence County Board of Elections threw out Ater’s petitions, saying they could only certify 189 signatures or 10 fewer than the Chesapeake man required. The petitions were also thrown out because of conflicting home addresses listed for Ater on the documents.

Before making a decision on the prosecutor’s deal Ater said he wanted to consult with his attorney.