Joe Relo joined the navy after he graduated from high school in Struthers, Ohio, at the end of world war 2. One Saturday night in 1948, when he was home on furlough from the Pacific, he drove his old school friends, Joe Mediate and Bill Marr, twenty miles to New Castle, just over the state border. They passed the night in the bars downtown and it was nearly one in the morning before they got back to the car, each extremely drunk, and set off for Ohio.
As soon as Joe pulled out into the street, he found himself stuck behind a cautious motorist who stopped at the red light at Moravia Street and Long Avenue even though the streets were deserted. Joe could see no reason why they should stop. Thinking of the long drive home, Joe leaned hard on his horn, again and again, cursing the driver in front, but the car did not move. Bill and the other Joe tumbled out of the car to talk to the driver—just to explain to him how far they had to go that night and to say that he should show a little consideration and either go through the red light or pull over so they could go through the red light—but he took it the wrong way and thought they were trying to start trouble.
Things got a little out of hand. Before long, the police arrived and arrested everyone.
The boys spent the rest of the weekend in the cells. Bill Marr and Joe Mediate were fined $10 and $5 respectively (Bill got the larger fine because the cops thought he had been resisting arrest even though, as he told the police court, he’d only been trying to explain to them the situation as he saw it), and Joe Relo received the standard New Castle penalty for drunk driving: thirty days in the county jail and a fine of $100 and costs, out in three days if the fine and costs were paid.
Joe left the navy in 1950 and joined the Struthers fire department, where he remained until he retired, in 1984, at the age of fifty-seven.Sources: New Castle News (15 march 1948 “Arrest Driver And Companions”; 20 March 1948 “Judge Lamoree Sentences Seven”); Youngstown Vindicator, 15 Jan 1984, “Relo To Retire As Firefighter”.