Published: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Wrestlers to spar to benefit burned officer
The officer is in the burn unit at Akron Children's Hospital.
AUSTINTOWN International Wrestling Association stars, some local wrestling talent and boxing champ Kelly Pavlik are getting together to benefit a police officer who was severely burned on the job two weeks ago.
Preston Steele and Doink the Clown will headline a show at Austintown Middle School at 7 p.m. Dec. 8. Organizers confirmed Friday that Pavlik will make an appearance as well.
Also appearing will be wrestlers Kevin Bradway, Ryan Burk, The Bouncer, Flex Lee, Scott Prodigy and Adam Evil. They are all volunteering their time.
Some of the wrestlers are students at Monsters of the Ring, a wrestling school run by Pete Lucic, which meets at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown.
Lucic, a Trumbull County Sheriff's lieutenant and owner of Allstar Fundraising Inc., said he is putting together and donating the entire show to Austintown officer Ross Linert, 48, who was critically injured Nov. 11 when his cruiser was hit from behind on North Meridian Road. The gas tank blew up and the car erupted in flames.
Linert was burned over 40 percent of his body. He is in the burn unit of Akron Children's Hospital, where he has undergone several surgeries for skin grafts.
The woman who hit him, Adrien Foutz, 22, of Girard, is charged with aggravated vehicular assault.
Foutz, of Iowa Avenue, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Friday before Municipal Judge Elizabeth Kobly, who ordered her case bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury. Foutz remains free on $25,000 bond. Foutz's blood alcohol concentration shortly after the crash was 0.279, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08, authorities said.
Lucic and Ed Anthony, another show organizer, said they knew Linert when he was an officer for Brookfield Township years ago. Anthony, a Warren Township police officer, said he worked with Linert on the Trumbull County Drug Task Force.
Lucic said he knows that if the situation were reversed, Linert would be the one scrambling to put together a fundraiser.
The show is sponsored by Mahoning and Trumbull counties Fraternal Order of Police.
Anthony said FOP locals have donated $2,000 so far. Expenses are minimal, and most of that money will go to Linert, he said.
Lucic said tickets should be available at the door the night of the show. There are about 1,200 seats available, and 550 tickets are sold so far.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at the response," he said, of people not only from Austintown but from all over the Mahoning Valley.
Organizers will have an 8-foot-long banner available for everyone who attends the show to sign. It will be taken to Linert to let him know people care. Knowing that will be an important part of his recovery, Anthony said.
For tickets in advance, contact Austintown Detective Ray Holmes at (330) 270-5109 or Anthony at (330) 540-6956. Tickets are $10.