The state Superior Court has denied the appeal of a Jenkins Township man who claimed his sentence for a hit-and-run crash that killed two people was excessive.
Walter Paul Raven, 61, pleaded guilty to two counts of accidents involving death and one count each of tampering with evidence, habitual offender, driving with a suspended license and careless driving. He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of delivery of morphine.
Pittston Township police and Luzerne County detectives said Raven drove a Buick into the path of a motorcycle operated by Donnie Pizano, 38, on state Route 315 on Sept. 2, 2012. Pizano and a passenger on the motorcycle, Robin Walsh, 39, both of Plains Township, were killed in the crash.
Prosecutors said during court proceedings that Raven went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s Restaurant and ordered ice cream after the crash.
Raven was found the next day using a power washer to clean the Buick, according to court records.
In the unrelated drug case, Exeter police accused Raven of selling eight morphine pills for $100 on Feb. 8, 2011, court records say.
Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough sentenced Raven on June 10, 2013, to 6 1/2 to 25 years in state prison.
Raven challenged the sentence claiming Vough erred in imposing the sentences consecutively. He claimed the sentences for habitual offender and driving with a suspended license should have been merged with accidents involving death that would had resulted in a sentence of five years, nine months to 23 years in prison.
The Superior Court ruled that prosecutors established each element of the charges filed against Raven.
“We conclude that the record supports the sentencing court’s reasoning and that its decision conforms to the applicable law,” the Superior Court opined. “The sentence imposed for each of Raven’s offenses was within the standard range of sentencing guidelines, and the record reflects that the court carefully considered all of the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing. As such, we discern no abuse of discretion, nor can we conclude that the sentencing court arrived at a manifestly unreasonable decision.”