Crash of official city car probed

October 12, 2012

WILKES-BARRE – City officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding a crash Tuesday involving a code-enforcement vehicle that was being driven outside of city limits.

The vehicle, driven by code enforcement officer Carol Smith, struck a median at the entrance to the West Side Mall at around 11:35 a.m., according to an accident report prepared by Edwardsville police.

The report said Smith, who was traveling with plumbing inspector Frank Kratz, told police she was turning left into the mall when she sped up to avoid an oncoming car and struck the median.

Smith and Kratz each complained of pain and were transported to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, the report said.

It remained unclear Thursday why Smith and Kratz were traveling outside of city limits.

Drew McLaughlin, administrative coordinator for the city, said city policy requires any travel outside the city be approved by the department head.

While noting there are legitimate reasons for travel outside the city, McLaughlin said officials are investigating the details surrounding the crash. He said he could not comment further while that investigation is ongoing.

McLaughlin said he did not know how much damage the vehicle sustained. Mayor Tom Leighton on Wednesday said the vehicle's airbags deployed and it sustained undercarriage damage.

McLaughlin said neither Kratz nor Smith were at work Thursday.