Man gets 11 months in prison for bath salts possession

A Marietta man who was caught with bath salts in his vehicle during a drunk driving stop was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 11 months in prison.

Zackary A. Pryor, 23, of 709 Ninth St., pleaded guilty March 26 to possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

Pryor was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol Feb. 23, 2013, after a concerned citizen saw him hit a U-Turn sign.

“He hit a road sign and somebody reported him,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham.

Pryor was still dragging a piece of the sign under his truck when stopped by the patrol. A search of his vehicle turned up bath salts.

Graham and Pryor’s attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, both recommended he be sentenced to the SEPTA Correctional Facility where he could receive counseling for his drug addiction.

“It’s real clear Mr. Pryor has a drug problem,” said Baumgartel. “He knows it, and he’s acknowledged it to me on numerous occasions.”

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane questioned Pryor’s eligibility for SEPTA due to a pending misdemeanor charge. Once it was determined that charge was to be settled soon, Lane questioned if SEPTA would be motivation enough for Pryor to kick his drug habit.

“I’m wondering if I should send him to prison for a few months first and get his attention. That’s where I’m at. Whats it going to take to get his attention to motivate him to turn his life around?” asked Lane.

While Baumgartel reiterated that SEPTA would be beneficial in that regard, Lane cited a prior felony conviction in Noble County as evidence Pryor had disregarded prior opportunities to get on the right path.

Pryor told Lane he has been attended counseling at L&P Services over the past couple weeks. However, the timing of the counseling caused Lane to again question Pryor’s commitment to getting clean.

“If you’d been serious, you’d have been at L&P months ago, not two weeks ago,” he told Pryor.

Baumgartel said he did not think Pryor was prison eligible due to a 2011 law that keeps most fourth- and fifth-degree felony offenders from state incarceration.

But recent adaptations to the law meant Pryor’s conviction of grand theft of a firearm in Noble County in 2010 was sufficient to enable a prison sanction, said Lane.

Lane sentenced Pryor to 11 months, but added that he was planning to grant Pryor early judicial release and send him to SEPTA if he behaved well in prison.