Rental wasn't stolen in Shamokin case
SHAMOKIN - A city woman who lied about her rental car being stolen Saturday afternoon faces criminal charges, while her husband, who wrecked the car in Coal Township, will be charged as well.
Jennifer Leonard, 43, of 219 S. Shamokin St., will be charged by Patrolman Raymond Siko II with making false reports to incriminate another person and making false reports. Her 40-year-old husband, Nathan P. Leonard, who has a suspended driver's license, also will be charged by Coal Township police in connection with an accident shortly after the blue 2010 four-door Chevrolet Aveo being rented from EZ Rent A Car, Pottsville, was reported stolen.
Siko said Jennifer Leonard initially told police the car was stolen, even though she knew her husband had taken it. The officer said Jennifer Leonard reportedly "panicked" after realizing her husband was driving the car without a license.
About five minutes after the car was reported stolen, Nathan Leonard crashed it along Route 2026 between Coal Run and Sagon, but was able to free himself from the wreckage despite suffering head, arm and leg injuries, police said.
A passing motorist gave Leonard a ride to Marion Heights, where he told the driver to drop him off. Upon reaching the borough, police said Leonard borrowed a cell phone from a concerned citizen and called his wife to pick him up.
He said his wife later drove him to a hospital in Harrisburg, where he underwent emergency room treatment for multiple serious injuries before returning to Shamokin.
At first, Jennifer Leonard denied lying about the stolen car, but later admitted in an interview with police that her initial story was a hoax.
During an interview with Siko Wednesday morning, Nathan Leonard, who admitted using the car in the past, said he took the car at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday and stopped at M&T Bank to withdraw $200. He then drove along Route 61 before turning onto Route 2026. Leonard said he lost control of the car as he attempted to throw out a cigarette he was smoking. Leonard said he recalled the car hitting a pole, causing him to be thrown against the front window. Leonard said he then crawled up an embankment and was offered a ride by an elderly man, who dropped him off near the Marion Heights ballfield.
Siko said an employee from State Farm Insurance Company told him Wednesday that he received a call from Jennifer Leonard. The insurance company employee said Leonard initially reported the vehicle was stolen before calling back and claiming her brother-in-law took the vehicle and wrecked it.
Siko said the true facts surrounding the incident were provided to the insurance company and EZ Rent A Car.