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Man charged in W-B crash injuring woman

March 14. 2013 10:56PM

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WILKES-BARRE — A Hanover Township man was arraigned Thursday on evidence of drunken driving after a crash that injured a woman.

Robert D. Cleary Jr., 44, of West Germania Street, was charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, accidents involving damage to attended vehicle, accidents involving injury, driving under the influence, driving without a license and three traffic violations. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 bail.

City police allege a drunken Cleary operating a Ford crashed into the rear of a Hyundai at South Wilkes-Barre Boulevard and East Northampton Street just after noon Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint:

Sgt. Richard Harding was traveling south on South Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, approaching East Northampton Street, when he noticed a Ford backing up and driving around a Hyundai. When the Ford sped away, Harding spotted Irene Ogrodnick standing behind the Hyundai with a cellphone to her ear.

Ogrodnick told Harding that the Ford struck her and took off.

Harding pursued the Ford onto East Northampton Street and south on South Pennsylvania Avenue, where he drove at a high rate of speed.

Cleary, the driver of the Ford, turned onto East Ross Street toward the abandoned Murray Complex.

Cleary told Harding he did not have a driver’s license. Police said in the criminal complaint that Cleary had an odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes. Cleary told police he left the accident scene to look for a place to pull over, the complaint says.

Cleary allegedly said he consumed six beers prior to the crash.

Police took Cleary to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for a blood test.

Ogrodnick was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for a head and neck injury.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled on March 21.

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