Fire Chief Pleaded Guilty to Assault

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A fire chief in Luzerne County pleaded guilty to an assault charge Wednesday morning.

However, his troubles with the law don’t end there.

The chief from Wilkes-Barre Township still faces charges of theft and DUI.

On Wednesday John Yuknavich headed into district court in Plains Township. That’s the latest in a series of visits to courtrooms for the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief.

Police said early on November 6, he showed up drunk outside the home of his ex-girlfriend Denise Pavlick. Police said he stole her iPhone, punched her friend, and threatened to shoot both of them.

In court, Yuknavich pleaded guilty to simple assault and was put on probation for one year. He’ll also have to submit to random drug and alcohol tests.

Yuknavich will still have to face DUI charges from the same incident last November.

Outside court Pavlick had a few words for her ex-boyfriend.

“I feel sorry for him he needs to get his life together,” said Pavlick.

“It was a third degree misdemeanor. All the other charges were withdrawn. It was important for Mr. Yuknavich to get that case behind him,” said Yuknavich’s Attorney Barry Dyller.

Yuknavich also faces more serious theft charges. In December state police charged him with misusing more than 10 thousand dollars intended for the volunteer fire department.

In January state police got a search warrant and removed several boxes from the fire house. There’s no word what was in those boxes. Yuknavich still faces a preliminary hearing on the theft charges.

In late January Wilkes-Barre Township adopted a new code of conduct policy: Any township employee charged with a misdemeanor or felony could be suspended.

John Yuknavich works on the roads department. So far, he remains on the job.