Truck owner waives charges in 2013 Elysburg crash
MOUNT CARMEL - The owner of a tractor-trailer truck involved in a devastating accident in Elysburg last year waived the charges and was released on bail Wednesday, but he was taken into custody for failure to respond to motor carrier enforcement citations in Clinton County, according to the (Bloomsburg) Press Enterprise.
Two people hurt in the crash drove from New York to attend the hearing, the paper said.
Joshua S. Kovaschetz, 34, of Riverside and formerly of 2273 Mile Hill Road, Sunbury, waived 18 charges, including two misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person.
He was freed on $10,000 unsecured bail, the paper reported, but police immediately took him away on the unrelated charges. Danville District Judge Marv Shrawder told the Bloomsburg paper there are four warrants for Kovaschetz in Montour County related to his trucking business, and he faces a DUI hearing in Montour County.
In addition to the recklessly endangering charges, Kovaschetz was charged with 11 summary counts of allowing the operation of unsafe equipment, two summary counts of operating with a hazardous braking system, and one summary count each of violating an out-of-service order, operating without insurance and violation of inspection. The charges were filed in June at the office of Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones in Mount Carmel.
Kovaschetz did not have an attorney at his arraignment Wednesday, the Bloomsburg paper reported.
The accident left Richard Shaw, of Johnson City, N.Y., confined to a wheelchair and also caused serious injuries to his wife, Brenda. The Shaws drove from New York Monday, visiting David and Judy Wolfe, of Shamokin, who, with their son, were also hurt in the crash, as well as Brad Anecki, a neighbor who helped in the aftermath, the paper reported.
Richard Shaw had four surgeries and spent 21 days at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, before transferring to a rehabilitation center. He told the paper he and his wife are finding "a new way to live." Shaw said he used to play football and other games with his grandchildren, but can now only throw the ball from his motorized chair.
"You can get busy living or get busy dying," he told the paper, quoting "The Shawshank Redemption." He said he and his wife decided to get busy living.
He also told the paper Kovaschetz is "a menace to society."
Driver at arraignment
David McGuinn, of Paxinos, was the driver of the truck and was at Kovaschetz' hearing as a witness, the paper reported. McGuinn had been charged with three summary offenses - operating unsafe equipment, careless driving and an out-of-service offense - but pleaded guilty to operating unsafe equipment Wednesday; the other two charges were withdrawn.
According to a report issued by Ralpho Township police shortly after the accident, Richard Shaw was driving a Ford Mustang east about 2:30 p.m. March 25, 2013, when it was rear-ended by McGuinn's truck.
The collision forced the Ford into the westbound lane, where it collided head-on with a Toyota Prius driven by David Wolfe. 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.
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 last summer. "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."
Wolfe also pursued legal action. TravCo Insurance Company, which represents Wolfe, filed the civil complaint July 7 against Kovaschetz Trucking LLC and McGuinn.
The complaint filed by Attorney Michael J. Dougherty, of Philadelphia, in the Northumberland County prothonotary's office is seeking $22,441.32 in damages plus interest and costs. The damage amount also covers rental charges incurred by Wolfe.
The complaint claims McGuinn negligently, recklessly and/or carelessly caused the accident and damage to Wolfe's vehicle.