School Closings & Delays

Accused Coach Tells His Side of the Story

The coach for a Valley View youth baseball team is accused of trying to run over a man with his truck and flashing a gun when, Scranton police said, an on-field argument got out of hand just over a week ago.

Monday a hearing for the coach was postponed, mainly because his attorney wants officers to investigate further.

Baseball coach John Zahradnik of Archbald was charged with harassment and reckless endangerment. The charges came after a supposed argument over a bad call in his son’s baseball game.

At his first court appearance in Scranton, Zahradnik’s hearing was postponed. He hopes to tell a judge his side of the story, a side that he said is much different from the one reported to police.

“To be labeled a criminal, with someone else’s false accusations, and not getting the full side of the story, it does, my family, my family went through a lot emotionally,” Zahradnik said.

He been barred from coaching his son’s baseball team since April 20.

Two men complained to police that Zahradnik became irate after an argument at Colliery Field in south Scranton. They said Zahradnik tried to hit them with his car then pulled out a gun.

Zahradnik said he was the one who was threatened when those two men came at him with a baseball bat.

“When two sides of a story are not told, everyone’s quick to judge, you know, whatever’s out there first,” added Zahradnik.

Zahradnik’s hired a lawyer and is fighting back. They’ve asked police to talk to other parents who were at the game that night and hope to have the charges against Zahradnik dropped.

“He was wrongfully accused in a case where the law enforcement officer involved admitted today that he failed to conduct a full and proper investigation. John doesn’t own a gun, and John certainly didn’t have a gun or show a gun at that baseball game,” said lawyer Joe Toczydlowski.

Even though Zahradnik did not have a chance to say his piece in front of a judge, his lawyer said they have convinced Scranton police to re-open his case.

Zahradnik’s next court appearance is in June.

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