Neighbor says defendant is helpful, good person

Cary Ashby • Apr 26, 2014 at 11:22 PM

"I sure did goof up."

That's what cocaine defendant Barry Busek told the judge Wednesday.

Busek, 58, of 16-C E. Main St., Wakeman, was referring to a July 27 traffic stop at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Ohio 60 just inside the Huron County line. He also referred to the incident as "a short-lived party, as it were."

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he has some issues about the case -- specifically that officers didn't stop the vehicle when they could have and followed Busek and his co-defendant, Desiree M. Collins, 55, of the same address, to Lorain County until the pair bought some drugs.

Longo said the Huron County Sheriff's Office passed up on a traffic violation "until they had something juicier." Collins was stopped for driving with a suspended license.

"At first, Desiree failed to pull over when lights were activated on marked cruisers. ... She appeared to try and elude authorities," Detective Sgt. Josh Querin said soon after the stop.

Deputies found crack cocaine and a suspected crack pipe in the vehicle. They had the white substance tested at the Mansfield police lab and determined it was .059 grams of cocaine.

On Feb. 25, Busek pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in exchange for prosecutors dismissing one count of tampering with evidence. About two weeks earlier, Collins was convicted as part of a similar plea agreement.

This isn't Busek's first cocaine-related conviction; court officials said Busek has at least three possession-of-cocaine convictions, with the most recent being in 2005.

Longo said Busek has been testing clean while the recent case has been pending and was cooperative with investigators. The public defender said even though his client is eligible for a prison term due to his prior felony convictions, Longo said he thinks Busek would do well if he were placed on probation.

One of Busek's neighbors also came to his defense Wednesday.

"Barry helps me with everything," said the woman, who called the defendant a good person. "He helps a lot of people with a lot of things."

The neighbor said if Busek were on probation, she would be willing to drive him to probation appointments and substance counseling meetings.

"The defendant has a pretty significant criminal record, including both misdemeanors and felonies," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said.

Busek earlier served eight months in prison. He said he's proud of being released early from the Belmont Correctional Institution and helping build a sidewalk as a member of a work crew.

Citing Busek's criminal record, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced him to 11 months in prison. However, the judge authorized the man to be eligible for the prison system's risk-reduction program -- meaning Busek could be released after serving 80 percent of his sentence if he successfully completes in-house substance abuse counseling.

"Sure," Busek said when the judge asked him if he were interested.

Earlier this month, his accomplice, Collins, was placed on three years of intensive probation. She was fined $250 and must reimburse the sheriff's office $40 for the cost of drug testing. Collins also faces a 90-day jail sentence, which her probation officer has the discretion of scheduling or can ask the court to waive if she is doing well on probation. She was credited with already serving 31 days in the Huron County Jail.

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