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State of Ohio v. Tracy T. West

October 26, 2011

STATE OF OHIO APPELLEE
v.
TRACY T. WEST APPELLANT



APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 09 12 3841 (B)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Belfance, Presiding Judge.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

{¶1} Tracy West appeals his convictions for unauthorized use of a vehicle and receiving stolen property. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I.

{¶2} Willie Conway owns the trucks used by All Around Trucking, an Akron based trucking company owned by his wife, and also works as the dispatcher. Mr. West and Walter Wilson were two of Mr. Conway's drivers, though Mr. Conway had just hired Mr. West. Mr. Conway told Mr. West to ride with Mr. Wilson on a delivery run to Florida. Along the way, they were to stop in Atlanta, where Mr. Conway had purchased a truck at auction. Mr. West was to drive that truck back to Akron.

{¶3} Mr. Wilson picked Mr. West up in Cleveland in the truck he was driving to Florida. The two men then drove down to Georgia, but the truck Mr. West was to pick up was not ready. They continued to Florida and delivered the cargo before returning to Atlanta, only to discover that the new truck was still unavailable. They proceeded to Virginia to make another delivery. While in Virginia, they contacted Mr. Conway to tell him that they were running low on fuel and needed money. Mr. Conway promised to wire money to them, but Mr. Wilson and Mr. West never received it. The men repeatedly called Mr. Conway to try to complete the wire transfer, but he never answered his phone. Ultimately, Mr. Wilson borrowed money from his cousin to buy gas for the trip back to Akron.

{¶4} Mr. West and Mr. Wilson arrived in Akron around midnight on Christmas Eve. Mr. Wilson refused to drive Mr. West back to Cleveland, claiming that he did not want to run out of gas on his drive back to Akron. He parked the truck in the All Around Trucking lot and suggested that Mr. West spend the night in the truck's cabin with the engine running until the gas finally ran out. Mr. West unhitched the trailer from the truck and drove the truck up to Cleveland instead of spending Christmas Eve in a truck that could run out of gas and heat in the middle of the night. Mr. West parked the truck nearby and walked home. He did not contact Mr. Conway to tell him what he had done for over three days.

{¶5} Before Mr. Conway spoke with Mr. West, he spoke with Mr. Wilson, who was still upset that he had had to borrow money from his cousin to buy gas. Mr. Conway reimbursed him for the gas, but the two men argued over Mr. Wilson's pay. Mr. Conway refused to pay Mr. Wilson because he did not give Mr. Conway the original bill of lading. Mr. Conway then learned that Mr. West had driven the truck up to Cleveland and refused to meet with Mr. Wilson until the truck was returned. According to Mr. Conway, Mr. Wilson told him that, until Mr. Wilson received his money, Mr. Conway would not get his truck back. Mr. Conway testified that he called Mr. West to ask him where the truck was and that, after Mr. West denied knowing anything about the truck, Mr. West told Mr. Conway the truck was in Cleveland and gave him a location.

{¶6} According to Mr. Conway, the location Mr. West gave him was incorrect, which Mr. West denies. Regardless, Mr. Conway did not recover the truck in Cleveland and, upon returning to Akron after his unsuccessful search, he reported the vehicle as stolen. Akron police arrested Mr. Wilson and a warrant was issued for Mr. West, who was also arrested.

{¶7} More than a month after Mr. West had driven the truck to Cleveland, Kenneth Gibson, a fire and theft investigator for Mr. Conway's insurance agency, recovered it. Mr. Gibson testified that he had driven to Cleveland to meet Mr. West and that, when he pulled off the road to make sure of the address, he looked up and saw the truck parked in a side parking lot of a Family Dollar store. He then met with Mr. West who gave him the keys to the truck.

{¶8} A jury convicted Mr. West of unauthorized use of a vehicle and receiving stolen goods. He has raised two assignments of error on appeal.

II.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I

"THE APPELLANT'S CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT ...


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