Snake Pleads Innocent To DUI

Warren Tribune Chronicle – June 16, 2001
By Christopher Bobby

GIRARD — Professional wrestler Jake ”The Snake” Roberts won’t be driving Trumbull County roads anytime soon.

In fact, the one-time big draw who surfaced during the Hulk Hogan era, showed up in Girard Municipal Court Friday with his own limo driver.

Outfitted in blue jeans, sandals and a tropical shirt, the pony-tailed performer also was accompanied by his female manager from England.

The 46-year-old wrestler from Gainesville, Texas, whose real name is Aurelian Smith, was pleading innocent to a drunken driving charge that followed his arrest Thursday evening.

A woman said Smith’s vehicle bumped her car in a parking lot and the wrestler drove off. He later was arrested by Niles and Girard police.

Smith was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. His blood-alcohol content was 0.179, a Girard police spokesman said. In the state of Ohio, it is illegal for a driver to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 or higher.

Smith was released because the Trumbull County Jail had room for violent offenders only.

Newspapers in Dallas have documented past problems with alcohol and drug use to which Smith himself admitted.

Smith signed a $500 personal recognisance bond – a bond that was continued Friday by attorney Anthony Antonucci, who was serving as acting judge for Judge Michael Bernard.

Smith’s attorney Robert Shaker told Antonucci his client told him he had no past DUI convictions, and the court hadn’t pulled Smith’s driving history from Texas. The next appearance in court will be within 90 days, after Shaker and Smith check their schedules and contact the court.

Antonucci remarked he probably had seen the wrestler on TV at one point. Smith also inquired about getting his car back from a lot where it was towed.

Shaker said he was planning a day off until he got a call last night after he was recommended to handle the case. ”I don’t know, maybe an officer gave him my name,” Shaker said.

And Rob Chalfant, who along with Ed Goldner, owns Goldilocks Limosine said he will most likely be carting Smith around this weekend when he is scheduled to make appearances to sign autographs at the Mahoning Valley Rib Burn Off in the parking lot of Eastwood Mall.

When asked by the acting judge, Shaker and Smith said they weren’t aware of any injuries from the parking lot crash.

According to a Girard police report, the former World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling fan favorite was in the parking lot next to a car driven by Sherri Morgan, 119 E. Broadway, when his Lincoln Town Car backed up and hit Morgan’s car on the driver’s side. Morgan said later she experienced neck pain after the crash.

He then drove away north on North State Street, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the Niles Police Department said Smith was pulled over and arrested by Girard police with assistance from Niles officers at the intersection of Robbins Road and Rhodes Avenue in Niles just past 6 p.m.

Smith initially said he was dropping off his business manager to do some shopping and that Morgan ran into his car. He did not say why he left the scene.

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