Truck owner charged in 2013 crash that left man paralyzed
RALPHO TOWNSHIP - The owner of a trucking company whose tractor-trailer was involved in a four-vehicle crash more than a year ago that critically injured a New York man has been charged by state police and Ralpho Township police with 17 violations.
Joshua Seth Kovaschetz, 34, of 2273 Mile Hill Road, Sunbury, owner of Kovaschetz Trucking LLC, P.O. Box 301, Sunbury, could be fined more than $4,000 after being charged with a misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person and 16 summary equipment violations involving his tractor-trailer in a March 25, 2013, crash on Route 54 near Farnsworth Camping Center.
The vehicle was operated by David P. McGuinn, of Paxinos, who has not been charged.
The accident left Richard Shaw, of Johnson City, N.Y., confined to a wheelchair and also caused serious injuries to his wife, Brenda. The rig rear-ended Shaw's car, causing it to strike another vehicle nearly head-on.
In an August 2013 article, Shaw was critical of Kovaschetz and Ralpho Township police for not charging McGuinn.
According to a report issued by Ralpho Township police shortly after the accident, Shaw was driving a Ford Mustang east about 2:30 p.m. when it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer driven by McGuinn.
The collision forced the Ford into the westbound lane, where it collided head-on with a Toyota Prius driven by David L. Wolfe, of South Sixth Street, Shamokin. The Prius was subsequently rear-ended by a Dodge Dakota driven by Ricardo Contreras, of Hart Road, Danville.
The Shaws and Wolfe were extricated from their vehicles by emergency responders.
Wolfe and two passengers, his wife, Judith Wolfe, and their son, David, all suffered injuries.
McGuinn and Contreras were not injured.
Shaw, who pursued legal action against Kovaschetz Trucking LLC, said he and his wife together suffered about 25 broken bones in the accident.
"I just don't understand how the tractor-trailer driver (McGuinn) failed to stop in time," Shaw said in August. "I was stopped and turning left and had my turn signal on. A witness verified all that, but the tractor-trailer left no brake marks on the highway, indicating the driver never intended to stop. There was no reason for him to slam into me."
In addition to recklessly endangering, Kovaschetz is charged with violations involving an automatic air brake adjustment system, clamp brake adjustments and tire tread; having holes in the truck's spring brake housing, allowing the trailer to have an inoperable license plate light; having defective brakes; not having required upper body markings/reflective material on the rear of the tractor-trailer or a required lower bumper bar marking/reflective material on the rear of the trailer; failure to have insurance and allowing the vehicle to be operated after it was deemed out of service from an inspection March 21, 2013.
The charges were filed by Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. George Ritchey and Ralpho Township Sgt. Chris Kreisher at the office of Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones in Mount Carmel.
Kovaschetz is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing on the charges before Jones July 23.