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Tow Truck Driver On Trial

WILKES-BARRE — The first day of testimony has wrapped up in the trial of a tow truck driver accused of killing a woman while driving drunk in Luzerne County.

Robert Wickham of Dallas faces homicide, drunk, reckless, and careless driving charges for the death of Denise Polinchak.

Eight witnesses for the prosecution testified Tuesday, mostly police officers who responded to the incident that killed Denise Polinchak in March, 2011.

Eight months after Robert Wickham’s preliminary hearing, his trial began in Luzerne County Court.

During testimony, troopers and police officers described him as cooperative but seemingly under the influence of alcohol the day in March of 2011 when he was called to tow Denise Polinchak’s car.

Polinchak worked at the Social Security Administration building near Wilkes-Barre.

Police say when Wickham arrived, he got into Polinchak’s car, started it, and put it in reverse with the driver’s side door still open. When it moved back, the door hit and killed Polinchak.

In court, officers testified to smelling alcohol on Wickham’s breath that day and said his blood alcohol level was .11, which is above the legal limit.

In opening statements, the defense argued that Polinchak’s car had no brakes, improper steering, and the wrong sized tires. Wickham’s attorney also claimed the blood alcohol level may not be accurate because only one test was done.

The prosecution expects to rest its case Wednesday. It’s not clear if Wickham will testify in his own defense.



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