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Last updated: April 17. 2014 11:42PM - 2737 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com



John Ward, left, of Nanticoke walks with his attorney, Vito J. DeLuca, into district court on Thursday.
John Ward, left, of Nanticoke walks with his attorney, Vito J. DeLuca, into district court on Thursday.
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HANOVER TWP. — An attorney believes his client, John Benjamin Ward, will plead guilty to causing a crash that claimed the life of a 68-year-old Nanticoke man last April.


To what charges Ward will admit guilt remain to be negotiated with prosecutors.


“He has expressed remorse,” attorney Vito DeLuca said Thursday after Ward, 22, of Nanticoke, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Joseph Halesey.


DeLuca said Ward elected to waive the hearing, sending charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, reckless driving and two counts each of driving under the influence and furnishing liquor to a minor to Luzerne County Court.


“He didn’t want to put the family through more grief,” DeLuca said.


Township police and county detectives allege Ward had a blood-alcohol level of .094 percent and marijuana in his system when he crashed his 1996 Honda Civic into the rear of a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Daniel Markowski on Sans Souci Parkway on April 10, 2013.


An adult driver in Pennsylvania is considered intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.


Investigators said Markowski had turned out of the Hampton House parking lot onto the parkway when his car was struck by Ward’s vehicle, which was southbound in the left lane.


When interviewed by investigators, Ward said he had been racing a friend on a motorcycle when Markowski pulled out in front of him, according to the criminal complaint.


Markowski was ejected from his vehicle, which rolled into a grassy field adjacent to the parkway.


Ward told investigators he ran over to the other vehicle and saw a man lying face down. He waited at the scene until police and ambulance crews arrived.


Markowski was transported to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, where he died the next morning. An autopsy found he died from multiple traumatic injuries.


A passenger in Ward’s vehicle, a then-17-year-old girl, was treated at Wilkes-Barre General for non-life threatening injuries.


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