Posted in the Steubenville Forum
McKeesport solicitor faces DUI charges
02/14/2012 7:23 AM
By Eric Slagle, MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Police have filed DUI and other charges against McKeesport solicitor J. Jason Elash in connection with a single-vehicle accident that occurred last month.
Toxicology tests revealed Elash had a blood-alcohol level of .196 percent following the accident, which occurred at 1:32 a.m. Jan. 22, according to a release from McKeesport police Chief Bryan J. Washowich.
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in the state is .08 percent.
Elash's 2004 Cadillac Escalade SUV had reportedly been traveling south on Route 48 when it failed to negotiate a bend and left the roadway. The vehicle struck a commercial building and came to rest. Elash, 40, was alone in his vehicle. He was transported by ambulance to UPMC Mercy for medical treatment following the accident and his vehicle was towed from the scene.
Police issued a summons to Elash on Friday charging him with DUI, required financial responsibility and driving at a safe speed.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko indicated Monday he will permit Elash to stay on as solicitor for the city, saying, ″I personally am willing to give him the opportunity to put this behind him and really just focus on his job and help move the city toward the future.″
The mayor said Elash has been fulfilling his duties as solicitor in a satisfactory manner since the incident and believes Elash ″is putting the issues that led to this situation behind him.″
Cherepko said the issues he was referring to were both personal and political.
Elash, who served as city attorney during former Mayor James Brewster's administration, was the subject of debate last year between then interim Mayor Regis McLaughlin and council.
Elash was ousted from his position in January 2011 and the city worked without an official solicitor for a short time before Bruce Dice and Associates was named in June.
Elash, who was unanimously rehired by council last month after Cherepko took office, could not be reached for comment by presstime.
Cherepko said of Elash, ″He's very apologetic and sorry for embarrassing me personally and the city of McKeesport.″
The mayor said he believed the incident was ″out of character″ for Elash and that he wanted to ″give him an opportunity to put his life in order.″
The mayor also said he was satisfied the police investigation of the accident was conducted with the highest level of integrity.
The release from police indicates a search warrant was served for the results of Elash's toxicology test Feb. 9 due to suspicion of driver impairment.
Washowich said he could not discuss details of the investigation any more than what was included in the release.
Police initially indicated there had been icy patches reported on roads at the time of the accident.
Elash has been cited for traffic violations in the past. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to a charge of speeding in East McKeesport.
In 2003, he was charged with driving without a license, careless driving, following too closely and failure to obey a yield sign in White Oak, but those charges were later dismissed.
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