HANOVER TWP. — A preliminary hearing for a township man charged with running down a pedestrian and fleeing the scene last month was continued Thursday after the charges against him were upgraded following the victim’s death.
Emiliano Hernandez, 46, was arrested in connection with the injury and death of Peter Mangino, 56, also of Hanover Township.
Hernandez, of Woodbury Street, stands accused of striking Mangino outside PT’s Late Night Bar at Oxford and Luzerne streets and driving away April 21. Mangino was on life support at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital until he died May 2.
Prosecutors upgraded one of the three charges against Hernandez from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony due to Mangino’s death.
Hernandez initially was charged April 23 with two third-degree felony counts of accidents involving death and a summary count of driving without a license. One of the two counts of accidents involving death was upgraded to a second-degree felony.
Although the allegations against Hernandez remain the same, his attorney, Danielle Ross, requested a preliminary hearing be continued until a report on Mangino’s blood-alcohol level is completed.
District Judge Joseph Halesey delayed the preliminary hearing until May 31.
Hernandez was sent back to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 bail.
A conviction on a second-degree felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison while a third-degree felony conviction carries a penalty of up to seven years.
Under the state’s crimes code, a conviction for accidents involving death carries a mandatory three years.
Township police allege Hernandez was driving a 2007 Ford Mustang when he struck Mangino and fled the scene.
According to a criminal complaint:
Hernandez surrendered April 23 when police located the Mustang at a repair garage on Holland Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Hernandez told police he saw a man on a sidewalk near the tavern but didn’t think the person would step off into the roadway when Mangino was struck. He said he panicked and continued to drive away.