Driver with pot, meth, cocaine sent to prison

An Ohio man found with a trio of drugs when he nearly crashed into an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper in Marietta two years ago was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to one year in prison.

Franklin A. Frye, 58, of 4250, State Route 307 West, Lot 72, Geneva, was stopped Nov. 18, 2011 after failing to yield the right of way near the Putnam Bridge and nearly crashing into a state trooper.

When stopped, Frye’s car smelled heavily of marijuana and the trooper noticed Frye had pieces of marijuana strewn over the front of his shirt.

A search of the car yielded more marijuana and five baggies of powder which tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine.

Frye pleaded guilty Aug. 5 to two fifth-degree felony counts of drug possession for the latter two substances.

Frye suffers from serious medical issues, said his attorney Ray Smith.

“He has some major medical issues and was taking drugs just to get him out of bed apparently,” he said.

Frye added that he had become addicted to pain pills when undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C.

“There’s no real excuse to be doing drugs. They put me on pain pills for a while, and I went through withdrawal so bad I couldn’t stand it,” he said.

He has completed counseling and drug treatment programs while incarcerated elsewhere in Ohio on unrelated charges, said Smith in asking for a community control sanction.

“Mr. Frye is an older gentleman. He’s been in jail since June 3 on this charge, since March on the other charge, so he’s been incarcerated six months now,” he said.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings said the state was recommending concurrent sentences as stipulated in the plea agreement, but added that a prison sentenced was more appropriate.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane agreed, noting the significant criminal history tied to Frye’s drug problems.

“Your prior record here takes up one, two, three, four, five, ….six pages,” said Lane, flipping through the report.

The convictions stem back to 1974. Among them are convictions for stalking, theft, breaking and entering, driving under suspension, assault of a police officer, drug possession, weapons under a disability, failure to appear, unauthorized use of a vehicle and aggravated menacing.

For seven of the charges Lane listed, Frye had received a prison sentence.

Lane sentenced Frye to the maximum one year on each of the fifth-degree felony charges, but ordered them to be run concurrently as both charges had stemmed from the same incident.

Frye will receive credit for 103 days served.