Road Rage Randy wrong for Fayette County
On the evening of August 28, 2002, Randy Ognio, a current candidate for the Fayette County Board of Commissioners was involved in criminal violent act against another Fayette County resident. I believe that Randy’s actions that night should be known by the voters of Fayette County. Randy Ognio is unfit to serve in public office.
On the evening in question, Randy evidently thought that he had been improperly cut off in traffic by Fayette County resident Joann Nieves. This event took place just south of downtown Fayetteville on Georgia Highway 85 near the Speedi-Pig restaurant where the road narrows from two lanes into one. Instead of simply calmly continuing to his destination, Randy took matters into his own hands. Randy followed Ms. Nieves several miles. While following this woman, Randy would from time to time tailgate her and pull up along side her and swerve. Unfortunately for Randy, this was witnessed by a Fayette County Jailer. When Ms. Nieves got to her home in south Fayette County, Randy was still raging and in hot pursuit. According to the Fayette County Case Report, Randy drove his truck through Ms. Nieves’ yard. Ms. Nieves is quoted as stating that Randy came “barreling across the yard at her in his truck.” At this point, Mr. Nieves saw what was happening to his wife and retrieved a pistol. The Case Report says that “When Mr. Nieves saw Randy charging towards his wife, he fired two shots into the ground.” Mr. Nieves reported “...he was in fear for his wife’s life.” Randy then left the scene. I should mention that Randy had his twelve year old son in the vehicle with him at the time of this attack.
The Nieves called the Fayette County Sheriff’s office and a report was made that evening. The next day, Ms. Nieves completed an Application for the arrest of Randy Clyde Ognio. Judge Bob Ruppenthal issued an arrest warrant for Randy charging him with Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon, a motor vehicle, a felony and aggressive driving.
Randy was arrested and booked in the Fayette County Jail. He was released after posting over $12,000 bail. On December 10, 2002, then District Attorney William McBroom presented the case to the Fayette County Grand Jury. Randy was indicted for the charges of Aggravated Assault and Aggressive Driving. Randy hired a high powered downtown Atlanta defense attorney to represent him. On November 5, 2005, Randy entered a plea of Guilty to the Aggressive Driving charge. Judge Johnnie Caldwell accepted Randy’s plea and sentenced Randy to twelve months of probation, a fine in the amount of $500 and a requirement that Randy complete an Anger Management Course and to have no contact with Ms. Nieves. As a special inducement to behave, Judge Caldwell allowed Randy to be considered a first offender if he completed the conditions of his sentence within twelve months.
I go into the lengthy discussion of the facts of Road Rage Randy’s crime to point out how he deals with conflict. As a former Fayette County Commissioner, I know first hand that a Commissioner frequently must deal with emotional issues and conflict. It is reasonable to assume that Randy’s past indicates how he will deal with conflict in the future. I believe that the incident that I have described above is critical information about Randy’s character and his decision making ability when under pressure. Once again, please remember that Randy had his 12-year old son in the vehicle at the time. Probably not going to get father of the year award. My vote goes to Lee Hearn.
I have a copy of Randy’s criminal file in my office. Anyone that is interested, may stop by my law office from 9 - 5 Monday through Friday to review it or get a copy of it.
Eric K. Maxwell