Police charged with mishandling accident
A victim of a pedestrian accident on Tioga Street last September appeared before borough council Monday night and charged Tunkhannock Borough Police with mishandling the incident.
Kathy Saunders was struck by a motorist on Sept. 12 as she crossed East Tioga Street on foot.
Saunders, who suffered a fractured skull, cheekbone, and the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebra in her back, also suffered a concussion, a broken vertebra in her neck, and a severe injury to her left leg, where she was hit by the car.
She said she was still recovering from the incident and appeared before Borough Council on Monday to air a series of grievances concerning the apparent lack of an investigation into the incident and her treatment by police at the scene.
Saunders also claims that the motorist who hit her was never cited.
However, an article appearing in the Wyoming County Press Examiner last Sept. 18 indirectly quoted Tunkhannock Borough Police Chief Roger L. Hardy as describing the incident and noting that a 1999 Buick driven by Donald Traver “failed to yield and Saunders was knocked to the ground.”
The article further noted that on Sept. 17 Hardy said that “Traver was issued a citation.”
According to Saunders on Monday, “there is no file anywhere on record in either the police department or the magistrate’s office for the motorist, which there should have been if the police followed up like they were supposed to.”
She added that in the now nearly 11 months since the incident, no one has contacted either her or a witness to the accident, which also would have been necessary had a true investigation taken place.
Saunders said that she doesn’t believe her injuries would have been as severe if the motorist had been travelling at the prescribed 25 mph.
She also claims that the police officer who was with her at the scene of the accident was “very uncaring.”
Borough Council President Stacy Huber said that he was “very sorry that you (Saunders) had such a negative experience,” and deferred to Mayor Norm Ball, who maintains an informed relationship with the police department.
The Mayor assured Saunders that he would “check to see if there is any citation on record.”
Ball also promised to “find out if there was a follow-up report,” saying that he would get back to Saunders after investigating.
Councilwoman Ruth Vincenti suggested the Mayor “thoroughly investigate the police officer’s handling of this woman’s situation.”
Saunders suggested that the entire Tunkhannock police force “be fired,” claiming that “there are several qualified and out-of-work veterans who would make fine officers.”
Mayor Ball, reached on Tuesday afternoon, said he had meetings scheduled at 5 p.m. (after this edition went to press) as well as Wednesday morning to meet with police officers believed to be familiar with the case.
In other business, Council President Huber announced his intention to establish a Storm Water Oversight Committee to handle issues of storm water management and runoff. The committee will be comprised of Councilwoman Wendy Sweppenheiser, Councilman Robert Robinson, and Councilman Marshall Davis.
According to Huber, the job of the committee will be to review current storm water impact on the borough.
Councilman Marshall Davis made a motion to approve the draft of a Rehabilitation Agreement prepared by Solicitor Paul Litwin and to authorize the Borough Manager (Dawn Welch) to sign agreements on behalf of the borough on the condition that the rehabilitation project would be completed within 120 days of signing.
The motion was seconded by Councilman Joseph Meyers and passed unanimously.
Councilman Robert Robinson reported on the state of the borough’s project to install a new furnace and boiler in the municipal building.
According to Robinson, everything is going well, and the borough is waiting on the instillation of a 1450-gallon propane tank to complete the project. The propane-fired furnace will be more energy efficient and save the borough money on energy costs.
Councilman Davis made a motion to accept a bid of $1200 from Denaple’s Auto Parts Incorporated for a 1991 pickup truck. Robinson seconded.
Denaple’s Auto also submitted a bid of $1600 for an ambulance / utility truck, but the minimum acceptable bid on the vehicle was $2500. The vehicle will be re-advertised.
Councilman Davis made a motion to approve for advertising a 1978 American LaFrance 85 ft. Snorkel fire truck with a minimum bid of $5000.
Councilwoman Vincenti seconded the motion.
Mayor Ball reported that he received several laudatory comments from citizens praising how good Riverside Park looked during River Day.
Prior to adjourning, Borough Council entered into an executive session which lasted for about 25 minutes.
Tunkhannock Borough Council usually meets on the first Thursday of each month. This month’s meeting was held on Monday because of the Triton Carnival, which runs through Saturday, August 9.