Youngstown children’s program director charged with drug trafficking

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The executive director of Youngstown’s Inspiring Minds organization has been placed on paid leave after his drug trafficking-related arrest Sunday night.

Inspiring Minds offers after-school and summer enrichment programs to under-served kids in the city. Timothy Frost serves as the executive director for the organization, but he was placed on indefinite leave after the organization learned of his arrest, according to a press release from Inspiring Minds founder Deryck Toles.

“I’m shocked and saddened by this, but the important thing is that we’re showing our children that we have a zero tolerance for drugs,” Toles said in a statement. “Our program is too important and is making a huge difference in the lives of the children we are serving. We will not become sidetracked, and we will continue serving the children who need us.”

Youngstown Police were investigating a report of shots fired from a white Cadillac Escalade on E. Evergreen Avenue just before 1 a.m. Sunday when Frost was arrested.

Police said Frost was driving the Escalade that matched the description of a vehicle from which shots were fired in the area. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, Frost allegedly led them on a short chase before losing control and crashing near Banner Supply on E. Indianola Avenue.

Frost and a passenger were ordered out of the vehicle. Police said Frost was argumentative and refused to obey commands, yelling, “What are you gonna do? Shoot me? Well then, go ahead and shoot me!” as he reached for his front pocket, also yelling, “How you gonna kill me knowing who I am?”

An officer then struck Frost in the chest with a taser, and he was taken to the ground and handcuffed.

Police said a bag of marijuana was found in Frost’s pocket, and marijuana, a grinder and $310 in cash were found in the vehicle. Also found in the vehicle was a case containing a digital scale with marijuana residue and 15 individually wrapped marijuana bags, according to the report.

Frost was taken to Mahoning County Jail on several charges, including aggravated trafficking in drugs, failure to comply with a lawful order of police, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing official business.

Toles said Frost was subject to a drug and background check before he was hired, and no prior issues were discovered.

Lindsay Benton, a founding board member of Inspiring Minds Youngstown and founder of Lindsay Renea Dance Theatre, has been named interim executive director during the investigation. A graduate of Ursuline High School and Howard University, Benton is working on her master’s degree in Fine Arts at Jacksonville University.

Toles said he is excited to welcome Benton to the Youngstown organization, which launched in 2015 as an affiliate of the Warren Inspiring Minds, in operation since 2006.

“Lindsay Benton is no stranger to the work that has been happening there,” Toles said. “And she brings with her a true understanding of the students we are serving and the mission that we have. We feel incredibly honored to have someone of her strength and caliber waiting in the wings to take over. Our children will be well served.”

Frost posted bond and is expected to appear in Youngstown Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing at 10:15 a.m. April 12.

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