Last updated: July 24. 2013 11:57PM - 3532 Views
By - elewis@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6116

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NANTICOKE — A Hunlock Township man jailed on charges he drove away after striking a bicyclist who later died is expected to plead guilty to related charges.

Under a negotiated plea deal between prosecutors and attorney Jonathan Blum, Matthew James Perkins waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Donald Whittaker on Wednesday sending charges of accidents involving death and involuntary manslaughter to Luzerne County Court.

Assistant district attorneys Michele Hardik and Rebecca Reimiller withdrew a homicide-by-vehicle charge against Perkins.

The deal calls for Perkins to plead guilty to the charges he waived to county court. If he opts out, the vehicular homicide charge will be reinstated for trial.

Perkins, 20, of Hartman Road, could face a mandatory one year in jail when he is sentenced. He remains jailed at the county prison for lack of $100,000 bail.

State police at Wyoming allege Perkins, driving a 2007 Saab, struck Richard Stadts, 73, who was riding a bicycle, on Route 11 in Plymouth Township on Aug. 7. Stadts died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township the next day.

A witness wrote down the license plate number on the Saab, state police said.

Perkins drove away and returned to his residence. He told his grandmother he may have struck a person, according to the criminal complaint.

He told state police he consumed a shot of liquor and ran into the woods where, he told state police, he did heroin before returning to his grandmother’s house, the complaint says.

Perkins is scheduled to be formally arraigned in county court on Oct. 4.

He also waived an unrelated Jan. 2 Plymouth Township drunken-driving charge to county court. He is also facing unrelated drunken-driving and drug offenses in county court from a traffic stop by Kingston Township police on Aug. 18, according to court records.

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