SCRANTON — A man who spent time in prison for his role in a deadly crash that killed a toddler two years ago is in trouble with the law again.
That man from Scranton is facing charges for allegedly attempting to run over the police officer with an ATV. It’s not the crime but who committed it that shocked prosecutors in Lackawanna County.
The same man caused a deadly crash in May, 2011 that killed a 2-year-old boy.
It was at the top of Dorothy Street in west Scranton that the police officer says two ATVs drove at him and almost hit him head-on. It took more than a month to identify one of the ATV drivers. But when prosecutors found out it was David Ranakoski, they were shocked the teenager was out on parole for a deadly crash that killed a baby boy.
In the summer of 2011, David Ranakoski,17, was charged with homicide by motor vehicle for causing the horrific drunk driving crash that killed 22-month-old Cole hazelton and severely burned his mother and her boyfriend. Baby Cole would be about to turn 4 now.
Ranakoski, now 19, is making the same walk again in handcuffs and this time the crime could put him behind bars for more than 20 years.
“Every day they’re reminded so I’m sure this is going to open up a wound. They may be progressing and moving along with their lives and now this is going to open up a wound,” said A.D.A. Robert Klein.
In the wreck in 2011, Cole Hazelton burned to death inside this car when Ranakoski’s collided with it on Dark Region Road in Ransom Township, outside Clarks Summit. Ranakoski was charged with DUI and homicide by vehicle. He served 11 months in county jail.
This time, the outcome was much better. No one was hurt but Ranakoski could serve more than 20 years in prison.
In April, a railroad police officer patrolling train tracks in Scranton was following Ranakoski who was driving an ATV illegally on the land.
According to court papers, that officer finally caught up with Ranakoski and another ATV driver at the top of Dorothy Street. The officer yelled for them to stop, but instead they sped at him, going 30 miles per hour, and the officer had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.
“You don’t feel too comfortable when they come flying around here at night, you don’t know what they’re going to do.”
Adio Mercanti had just gotten done working at an auto shop on Dorothy Street when Ranakoski had his alleged run-in with the police officer. That didn’t really shock people who live in the area, but the fact it was Ranakoski was a shock. The crash from 2011 is one many people in Lackawanna county won’t soon forget.
“Obviously this is someone who just doesn’t care, doesn’t have any morals, that didn’t grow up with any morals at home,” said Shanene Scott of Scranton. “Karma always follows you.”
Ranakoski was arrested Thursday morning and arraigned on charges of felony aggravated assault and fleeing from a police officer.
Because he was on parole, Ranakoski is not allowed to post bail so he’s locked up in the Lackawanna County Prison facing more than 20 years behind bars.