LISBON - A Minerva police officer accused of assaulting his girlfriend on June 27 pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct Tuesday in Columbiana County Municipal Court.
Dustin M. Chase, 30, Bonnieview Avenue, Minerva, had been charged with assault for allegedly pushing his girlfriend, Heather Anderson, down a flight of stairs and causing her to strike her head.
Chase was fined $150 by Judge Mark Frost.
Assistant County Prosecutor Don Humphrey Jr. had requested a maximum $500 fine.
The agreement to plead to the reduced charge was reportedly due to evidentiary issues. Reference was made to a letter reportedly written by Anderson and given to Chase's attorney, Jeffrey Jakmides. At an earlier hearing in August, Humphrey had said he was having issues locating Anderson, with attempts to serve her with a subpoena at that time being unsuccessful.
Anderson was in attendance at Tuesday's hearing, which came a day before a scheduled jury trial in the matter. Frost asked Anderson was if she was satisfied with the agreement to reduce the charge and she indicated she was. She also asked the court about the effects of the plea on the no contact order and was told it has now been lifted, but she can request a new protection order if she chose to do so.
Frost told Chase he knew he was involved in law enforcement and he was uncertain how the plea would affect his status as a police officer. Chase has reportedly been working as a patrolman in Minerva while the case has been pending.
According to a Columbiana County sheriff's report from the time of the incident, the incident was reported by Anderson's 11-year-old daughter, who told deputies she saw Chase shove her mom, which caused her to fall down the stairs. Anderson had at that time reported she hit her head and lost consciousness.