Last updated: May 07. 2014 8:12PM - 1661 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6113

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Toohil plans to introduce

‘Kevin’s Law’ legislation

State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, announced Wednesday that she is the primary sponsor of legislation, soon to be introduced in the House of Representatives, which would increase the mandatory minimum penalty for fleeing the scene of a fatal traffic accident.

Toohil’s proposal also is known as “Kevin’s Law,” after Kevin Miller, who died in 2012 after being run over by hit-and-run driver Thomas Walter Letteer Jr. on North Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Letteer, 24, of Plains Township, received a two-to-five-year sentence last week in Luzerne County Court. He pleaded guilty in March to accidents involving death, a second-degree felony.

Under state law, homicide by vehicle while DUI carries a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Leaving the scene of an accident involving death carries only a one-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Toohil’s bill would increase the minimum mandatory prison sentence for the fleeing charge to three years, in order to make the penalties consistent.

She said the Letteer case “has once again exposed a major flaw in Pennsylvania law that gives drunk drivers an incentive to leave the scene of a violent crash.”

“In fact, it not only gives these violators the incentive to flee, but it encourages them to do so in order to face lesser charges,” Toohil added.

New allegations in civilian crash

involving city police officer

The legal battle between the families of two Wilkes-Barre police officers over a civilian car-crash has taken a new turn, with the defendants claiming injuries suffered by off-duty officer Yuannis Polemitis were work-related and not caused by the collision.

That allegation was contained in court documents filed in the Luzerne County Prothonotary’s Office on Wednesday by lawyers representing Brandon Olshefski, the son of city police Lt. Steve Olshefski.

According to court documents, at 9:45 p.m. May 1, 2013, Polemitis was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier west on Hazle Street at its intersection with High Street and South Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, while Brandon Olshefski was driving a 1998 Ford Contour north on High Street approaching Hazle Street.

“At that time and place, suddenly and without warning, Brandon failed to stop at a red traffic signal and sped into the intersection, violently colliding” with the Polemitis vehicle, says a suit filed in March by Polemitis and his wife, Jennifer, by attorney Jonathan S. Comitz.

A Times Leader report following the crash indicated both men were taken to area hospitals.

Comitz wrote that Polemitis suffered “painful and disabling injuries forever changing his life.” Comitz has requested a jury trial on his clients’ behalf.

In addition to denying claims in the lawsuit and seeking legal costs, the response filed for Olshefski by attorney Chris J. Carling alleges that Polemitis’ injuries were suffered in connection with his job, not in the crash, and that “said physical injuries have fully resolved.”

Carling’s filing also alleges that Polemitis failed to exhibit care and caution, proceeding through the intersection “when it was not safe for him to do so.”

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