Snowplow driver gets suspended for his anti-Bush message

CLEVELAND (AP) - A state maintenance worker was suspended after he displayed a sign with the word "traitor" on a snowplow while helping provide security for President Bush's motorcade, the Ohio Department of Transportation said.

Michael Gerstenslager was asked to park a snowplow on an entrance ramp to block access to a highway that the president's motorcade used to go from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport into downtown Cleveland on Wednesday.

A state trooper in the president's motorcade saw the sign and reported it to the state's transportation department, ODOT spokeswoman Lora Hummer said.

Gerstenslager is suspended with pay while the department investigates, Hummer said. She said she couldn't identify the potential violations or penalties until the investigation is complete. Discipline can range from a verbal warning to dismissal.

A disciplinary hearing will occur next week, Hummer said.

Gerstenslager, who does not have a listed telephone number, could not be reached for comment. A message was left Friday for Peter Wray, a spokesman for the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, the union that represents Gerstenslager.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)