Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Racer spared painkiller conviction

Lebanon man must finish drug program

By Sheila McLaughlin smclaughlin@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON - IHRA Pro Stock racer Ron Miller will be spared a drug conviction if he successfully completes treatment for three years to shake an addiction to painkillers.

        Standing in Warren County Common Pleas Court on Monday, Mr. Miller said very little as he entered guilty pleas to two felony charges of using deception to obtain the prescription drug propoxyphene, which is commonly known as Darvon.

        An agreement approved by Judge P. Daniel Fedders calls for dropping the charges if Mr. Miller finishes treatment through a county agency and follows three pages of restrictions that will be monitored by the probation department. The 53-year-old Lebanon resident also will have to submit to regular drug tests to prove he is not using unlawful drugs.

        If Mr. Miller fails, he will be sent to prison for up to two years, Judge Fedders warned.

        “Obviously, the defendant's dependency on drugs was a factor leading to these particular crimes,” Judge Fedders said. “Treatment in lieu of a conviction would not demean the seriousness of the offense.”

        Mr. Miller was accused of going to three doctors and three pharmacies in Lebanon, Morrow and Turtlecreek Township, sometimes on the same days in July and October 2001, to obtain the pills, Assistant County Prosecutor Leslie Meyer said.

        Defense attorney Timothy Tepe said earlier that Mr. Miller obtained the narcotics to ease the pain from a serious back injury that occurred years ago. Mr. Miller was not taking the drugs while he was racing, but would take them instead at night, he said.

        Fifth in International Hot Rod Association national Pro Stock rankings, Mr. Miller continues to race.

        IHRA spokesman Jim Marchyshyn said officials have not sanctioned Mr. Miller, but continue to watch the case.

        “We're waiting to see what happens,” he said. “He hasn't done anything wrong yet.”


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