WILKES-BARRE — The verdict is in, in a drunk driving homicide case out of Luzerne County. Jurors found Robert Wickham guilty on all counts including, homicide by vehicle while under the influence.
It was an emotional morning in court for the families of Robert Wickham and Denise Polinchak. Polinchak was killed in March of last year when the door of a tow truck hit her. Jurors determined it was Robert Wickham’s fault.
There were sighs of relief and tears of joy as Denise Polinchak’s family heard the news. Jurors convicted 56-year-old Robert Wickham of Dallas for killing 55-year-old Denise Polinchak, of Wilkes-Barre, when he was called to tow her car in March of last year.
Polinchak’s husband, Michael, says he’s be waiting to hear the word “guilty” For a long time.
“Nobody should ever have to go through this. I would never wish this on anyone,” said Polinchak’s husband, Michael Polinchak.
Robert Wickham was called to tow Polinchak’s car outside the Social Security building near Wilkes-Barre last March. That’s where Polinchak worked.
When he arrived at the building, he says he got into Polinchak’s car, put it in reverse, asked her to stay out the way, and backed out. He says the car “took off like a rocket.”
Police say the open driver’s side door hit Polinchak. She died later.
Wickham admitted on the stand this week to drinking three 24-ounce beers that morning. Police say Wickham had a blood alcohol level of .114. However, multiple witnesses testified this week that Polinchak’s car had brake problems, a fact that Wickham’s lawyer says the jury overlooked.
“The major and significant cause of this death was vehicle failture. However, he said that the blood alcohol level of 0.114 was speculative at best as it relates to being a factor,” said Wickham’s lawyer Tom Marsilio.
“I wish I’d never heard his name. I don’t ever want to hear his name again and if there’s karma, karma will take hold,” said Michael Polinchak.
Wickham was set free until his next court date.
Polinchak’s family has filed a civil suit against Wickham, the towing company and AAA.