Troopers: Officer In Deadly Crash Going 88 MPH

wmpt cop crash car

WILLIAMSPORT — New information has been released on a deadly crash involving a Williamsport police officer.

State police now say Officer Jonathan Deprenda was going 88 miles per hour in 35 MPH zone when his cruiser collided with another car, killing that driver.

Troopers who investigated the January 12 crash say Officer Deprenda was responding to help another officer with his lights and sirens on. He attempted to pass three cars and the third car turned into his path.

The fiery collision killed James Robinson, 42, of Williamsport.

State police are now trying to track down the car that was behind the victim’s car at the time of the deadly crash.

109 comments

  • Momof3

    Neither party ever wanted anything like this to happen. It’s up to their family and friends to support their families, for both men involved, to get them through this. The officer has to live with his decision, and the other man was lost. It’s a tragedy for both. Have any of you ever made a bad decision? What happened was meant to happen, and everyone else just needs to keep their opinions to themselves and live their own lives because theirs could be cut short at any time just like the victims. Tell me, if it were your life that got cut short, would you want to have been enjoying your life or using that time to judge others? Please, enjoy your life! You only get one!

  • Lori Phelps

    I am not saying the police officer was in the right here but doesn’t the law state that if you hear siren’s and see light’s you pull over to the side of the road until it has passed??? This article says this man turned in front of him but he was also going 88 mph which indeed in a 35 mph zone is wrong unless there was just cause for him to be going that fast in a residential area or even a business area…I am sure there is many reasons why he was speeding and I am sure that they did not tell the public everything!!!.

    • Towering High

      um…The article also states that the victim was in the third car that the officer attempted to pass. hmm. Perhaps the VICTIM began turning before seeing the lights…Have you never looked in the rear view at the last minute-startled by a speeding police car approaching??

  • den

    If an officer is responding to an officer who needs help it is common to go lights and sirens at a high rate of speed. Drivers are required to pull to the right and stop until the officer passes. Also I noticed comments that officers will run a red light then shut their lights off. Often times neighboring jurisdictions will call for help but then cancel the units responding thus the officer will then shut his lights off. All non law enforcement people on here making stupid comments should know the job before you give an opinion. Bunch of idiots

    • Justin Utter

      I take it you’re a cop. You’re pretty good at making excuses for them. There’s NO EXCUSE to go that fast in a residential area. What if there would have a pedestrian that he hit? Or your son or daughter? Would you still be making excuses then?

    • Mike Undercofler

      NO law enforcement officer has the right to break the laws that they are sworn to uphold. Misinformed people think that an emergency vehicle has the right to break the law. That is ENTIRELY untrue. They are generally given a free pass, but those lights and sirens are meant as a warning, ASKING for right of way. They are NOT a warrant to break the law.

      This Cop should be charged with vehicular manslaughter, as would ANY other person who was driving at a reckless speed, and caused the death of another.

    • Trish

      How can people who are not police officers know the job? The police will not release their policies and procedures… So we are to just accept whatever they wish to do.

      • Mister-M

        We don’t have to. We don’t have to know the job. We don’t have to be police officers or be related to or know someone who is.

        It’s a simply matter of logistics and time/speed/distance. 88 in a 35 zone puts more people in danger than those it may save/assist and there is no argument that shall justify doing so. None. That’s a fact.

    • Nick Munyat (@rednick261)

      Being from a family with some law enforcement (internal affairs in Philly, police chief in a major Philly suburban jurisdiction), I can speak with some authority on the abuses of power by police officers on a daily basis. Yes, if a driver sees lights and sirens they are required to pull over if possible. At that point on 3rd St, it is not possible to do so. Additionally, police officers are not allowed to exceed reasonable speeds, which this officer clearly did. If he is not prosecuted for his misdeeds, it will only serve to further feed the distrust of police in the public sphere, and to further justify in officers’ minds that they are above the law.

      Also, officers are not allowed to activate their lights in order to activate the detection devices that are on many stop lights unless they are responding to an active dispatch. Many officers ignore that rule and do this frequently (not all officers, and some do it only occasionally, but many do it frequently). Police officers are also not allowed to text while driving, yet seemingly every time I pull up next to a cop on the road, they are texting or otherwise manipulating their handheld devices, in direct violation of state law. There are many respectable officers who always, or nearly always, adhere to the law and their regulations. There are also many who do neither, and that very real problem needs to be addressed with prosecution, firing, and any other appropriate actions. Officer Deprenda ought to be stripped of his badge and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, just as I would be if I abused my privilege and caused someone’s death.

  • Teena

    Shouldn’t the driver in the vehicle that was behind him be in the witnesses from when it happened? I think it is truly sad for Boomers family. I have seen many cops speeding around without their lights on and have also seen them turn them on to speed through red lights and then turn them off after they were through it. The police will do everything they can to put a spin on this story to cover one of their own though. Such a tragic loss! SMDH

  • Thomas Faleshock

    It seems a lot of police feel they are above the law nowadays. I used to have respect for police officers, but now I just fear them. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all, but you never know which one is that bad apple.

  • David Ford

    88 in a 35? Cop hits car in the back portion of victims car. The law clearly states that of you hit another vehicle in the rear portion, the wreck is your fault. No if ands or buts. However, the cop did have his lights and sirens on but the officer had a civic duty to make sure it was safe to respond at that speed. What was the assistance call for? Was it necessary for the officer to drive that fast? From the information the public has been given, this wreck is the cops fault.
    I’ve seen cops in my town use lights and sirens to get to dunkin donuts. Really did happen. But we should not judge until all the information comes out.

  • Mister-M

    It’s a tragedy all the way around, but there are, in fact, speeds at which your lights and sirens cannot adequately compensate for the distance covered at such speeds.

    I’m certainly not against police officers rushing to the scene of a crisis… but I think departments all over the country have to take a look at a simple mathematical calculation of time/speed/distance.

    If the emergency to which he’s responding is a mere mile away, the difference between 80 and 60 about 20 seconds. The lives put in danger along the way in a residential area marked 35 are innumerable. When you factor in necessary pauses/slow downs/obstacles, that time difference will typically grow smaller, not longer.

    That officer’s ability to react to mistakes (his own or others) is severely compromised at 88 miles an hour in such an area.

    Over short distances, incredibly excessive speeds do not save much time while at the same time significantly increasing the dangers posed to the public.

    • tiffany d

      I agree. The 20 second arrival difference when going 80 or 60nph isnt enough to justify putting so many people in harms way. If it was officer down or shots fired, 20 seconds wouldnt save a life or lose it.

      • Mister-M

        It’s the same lesson I give my neighbors out here in my rural part of town. There’s a road from our neighborhood into town that is well-patrolled and it’s 10-12 miles distance. I’ve explained to those who have previously gotten very expensive tickets that the difference between doing the speed limit (55) and what is commonly done (70) is about 1-minute between the two points. It’s just not worth it to speed over such a short distance when the time savings is negligible and the risk of getting several hundreds of dollars worth of ticket, points on your license, and raised insurance rates is simply not worth it… set your cruise control and spend the extra minute or two driving into town… the scenery is beautiful enough that it will be worth it.

        Applying it in this situation is equally sensible and there is simply no argument to the contrary… not for murder, not for rape, not for burglary, not for “shots fired officer down.” Not 88 in a 35 residential area. The time savings is negligible and SO MANY MORE PEOPLE ARE PUT IN DANGER, including another officer.

    • Ellen

      Your comments make more sense than any other comment I’ve read so far. You have made the most sense of all. Well said sir!

  • jimmy

    Police standing up for police. What a shocker. They are all saints. No one should be traveling that fast on a road. And he’s a trained professional? Shame on you. I use to work with boomer. He was a great guy. And his life was taken by an irresponsible “policeman”

  • Tanyaa

    If you were in a life or death situation or something happened to your loved one and needed the police would you want the officer to only go 35 mph? If there was an emergency everyone of you people bitching and putting the cops down would throw a worse fit if they didnt get there immediately. Think before you speak. Its common sense. Im sad someone was killed but if they didnt get the other guy many ppl could have doed from the heroin like has been happening lately. Its sad all around but cops and all emergency personnel need to get where theyre going quick to save lives thats why the lights and sirens.

    • les

      i get going fast but 88 in a 35 in a residential area is a bit fast did he get there any faster no now he killed someone and he has to live w that the rest of his life

    • David

      yes they need to get there but they still need to aproch in a safe manner have u ever notice when a fire truck or ambulance goes thru a light or stop sign they slow down to make sure path is clear if he was passing three cars then he needed to do the aproaite speed to ensure the safty of the public also

    • Daryn Bogart

      Doing 88 in a 35 to catch some scumbag drug dealer is unforgivable.

      Unless it was shots-fired officer assistance needed, this cop had no business doing 88. Emergency responders are still required to stop at red lights, etc even with the lights and sirens going to ensure the safety of everyone around them on the way to the call.
      Nobody is saying the officer meant to hurt anyone, but this IS wreckless endangerment and he will/should be charged with involuntary vehicular manslaughter.

    • Garnet Red

      Check how many officers are injured or killed in car accidents (as well as the other drivers they injure and kill) and then tell me what good they would be if you needed them to show up. Not much good to ANYONE crashed on the side of the road.

  • Tammy Duffy

    I think all opinions should be held until a full and complete investigation is done. Then you all may pass judgement or give your opinions as I would also. As of yet with little details no one should voice theirs until all the facts are on the table be it right or wrong. We are all human.

  • Sad Situation

    That’s sad! I’ve already had a Wilkes Barre cop almost plow into me… and I was paying attention, luckily. Had I had my music on or something, I may not of been so lucky. I had the green light to make a left and he came flying down the hill and almost hit me. He turned his lights on at the last minute, but was already driving fast trying to go through the intersection. Cops aren’t always right, I mean, they are humans too!

  • John

    charge the cop with involuntary manslaughter, just like any other citizen would of been charged with. blue costumes and shiny badges dont grant extra rights

    • Gid

      Actually the suits and badges do come with extra rights. Officers have the right to search people, detain people, issue fines, use physical force, and, yes, not adhere to standard traffic laws. The question is whether or not these rights were abused. I don’t know in this case. Perhaps the officer in question was reckless. I doubt, however, that there was any malicious intent. It also seems possible that the other driver may have been at fault as well, for turning left when he should have allowed the cop to pass. I don’t know yet, but I think all you crusaders should calm down and realize that this was a complex accident born of simple human error. There are no villains here.

      • Nick Munyat (@rednick261)

        If I’m speeding, hit a car and kill the driver, I am charged with vehicular manslaughter, regardless of my intent. Even if I got out of my car and performed whatever medical procedures necessary if I were skilled to do so, if I cause someone bodily harm or death as a result of my recklessness, I am charged. He should be, too. No ifs, ands, or buts about it just because he gets to play cops and robbers in real life.

      • Gid

        Yeah, and if you put someone in handcuffs and stuffed them in the back of your car you’d be charged with kidnapping. Whether you like it or not, police operate under a different set of rules designed for extraordinary circumstances. Again I say, the matter in question is whether or not the officer abused his authority to operate under those rules. I would merely suggest that you reserve judgment at this point in the investigation.

  • Jeff Coberly

    I feel that the officer should face the same charges we would have to. 50 mph over the speed limit is a little excessive and therefore the officers license should be suspended if not revoked, he should be made to face charges for vehicular manslaughter, and made to do the time to show that no one is above the law and also use him as an example for other police agencies to follow. Yes I understand they are hear to serve and protect but that speed through that area….yes he was asking for trouble…..Odds are the officer if anything happens will get a slap on the wrist and go on his way

    • tiffany

      I agree he deserves the manslaughter charge like anyone else in our area. he is no different and should be punished like any normal person. he killed a man what to think as they read the truth as it comes out my prayers are with them and i hope they get justice.

  • Is one life more valuable

    88mph in a 35 zone. That is in same! He created a deadly hazard and put everyone in the vacinity in danger. Being a cop does not give one the right to endanger the public whether responding to a call or not. He has to use judgement and respond in a way that does not endanger the public. The logic of justifying him responding in such a fashion stating it may be someones child in danger does not justify his action! What about the fact that he KILLED SOMEONES CHILD by obviously driving out of control. If the other officer was in trouble at least driving more responsibly would have meant he would have made it to the scene to render assistance. Who did this situation help? If it was your relative killed you would not have the same opinion!

  • Poor guy

    That’s real said……..and to find out that the situation was being handled with the need for him to be traveling that fast. In my opinion, FIRE THE COP! By the time that the poor person’s family member’s gets done with the Williamsport police department’s in court, the city will not have any money left to pay their officers! I live on a back road some 40 miles away from Williamsport, over the summer on a nice day watched a marked Williamsport city police car drive by my house over 65 mph (with no lights or siren on) in a posted 30 mph zone? Must be nice to just joy ride sometimes!

  • Victoria

    It’s alarming that he was going so fast. but also that is why when you hear and see emergency vehicles you get out of the way safely. not paying attention can lead to incident like this happening. he was trying to do his job while a motorist did not pay attention. Please do a safe speed while responding to a report. not making it to a call because you are involved in one doesn’t help anyone.. also please look out for emergency vehicles

    • A motorist

      If he was 3 car lengths ahead like the article stated then I guess him not seeing the emergency vehicle could and probably does explain a lot HUH? Oh and not to mention on that part of that street the roads are riddled with blind spots!!!

    • Carrie

      Perhaps you aren’t familiar with that area, but there isn’t anywhere to pull over in that area. It was definitely not safe for anyone, police officer or not, to drive that fast on that road. That cop should be charged the same way you or I would be charged. I’d love to be picked for that jury!

      • not a police officer

        You people have no idea what you are talking about. He did nothing different than any other cop has done in the situation. The fact is , he was responding to an officer needs assistance call that involved a drug dealer that was arrested 3 days before for dealing heroin. He was fleeing an officer and was a known dealer, the other officer caused him to wreck and had him at gun point. Let’s see, drug dealer possibly armed and a lone officer, not good odds. It truly is a shame that a man was killed, but he did make an illegal left turn in front of a patrol car with lights and sirens on. This poor patrollman has to live with the fact he is responsible for the death of someone’s son, brother and dad. You also need to know that he put his own life in jeopardy to make your stay in Williamsport is a safe one. My prayers are with both the man who lost his life and the officer that was just trying to make you safe. Have a heart and do your homework before you run your mouth.

      • Tom Eberlin

        A man died. The officer driving at way to high of a speed never made it to assists the the other officer so what good did it do be going 90 miles and hour in downtown Williamsport?

      • Nick Munyat (@rednick261)

        The officer needs assistance call was cancelled when that suspect was detained, and this officer still chose to put dozens of innocents at risk with his unforgivably stupid choice of driving tactics. No excuse is a good excuse for driving that fast in that spot, lights and sirens or not. It’s a horrible injustice that the police feel that they should be able to do this, and even more of an injustice that someone died as a result of the officer’s absurd actions. It will be an absolute tragedy and failure of the system is he is not charged to the fullest extent of the law.

      • Garnet Red

        “Let’s see, drug dealer possibly armed and a lone officer, not good odds.”

        so what are you saying? Cops are only competent to defend themselves against unarmed people and kids with scissors?? Therefore another cop has to drive like a maniac putting lives at risk to assist him?

    • ShAwna

      Not sure you can blame the other drivers…check out where the accident happened…no where to get over the right side which is probably why the cop was passing on the left.

    • No excuse

      Where was the driver killed going to go when a car hits you doing 88mph. The poor soul that got hit didn’t even have time to react No I disagree. Responding to a call is not a reason to put the public in danger. Are you saying anyone in the area should have ran for their safety. NO the safety of the public comes first! And when it doesn’t something like this happens. Sorry no excuse. If the driver was your son or daughter or spouse would you feel the same way?????

  • carl

    No that was my friend that was killed he was on his way to work goin to dennys he didnt turn into the cops way its a str8 shot from 3rd to the strip..88mph is way way to fast for intown drivin plain and simple my friend is.gone cause the poli
    ce officer cant drive

    • wilson

      Hi Carl sorry for your lost, my aunt lost her friend too… Boomer was a good man!!! You are absolutely right, he didn’t turn, he was going straight. To the guy “poor guy” that posted before you, he’s correct also. I hope the Robinson’s sue the blood out of the williamsprt worthless police dept. Believe me I myself am going to do everything I can to ensure that that rookie cop whom lacks common sense & is trying to make a name for himself on a force that can cause problems & even death can’t solve any of the murders in Williamsport. It’s a shame that these demons on the police force are already trying to play cover up, but truth be told the radio call told responding officers to stop pursuit, they weren’t needed, so this worthless 2year vet killed someone for nothing because he thought he was part of the fast & furious. He better get charged for vehicular manslaughter & get fired. We will see what the city’s mindless mayor is gonna do. He better do right by that family. 88mph in a 35mph zone is intolerable by anyone!! I hope the family finds a lawyer that will get the truth out… there wasn’t another car, that stupid rookie hit boomers car & you can read that in the Williamsburg Sun Gazette. Liars are always brought tothe light. Rip James, God will make sure justice prevails!!

  • Ron Mlodzienski

    My favorite is when a cop is stopped at a light or a stop sign, gets impatient, then puts on his lights, go threw the intersection, then shuts his lights off and goes about his business …… Most local cops are complete hypocrites …….. I can’t remember the last time i DIDN’T see a cop on the phone while he/she was driving !!!!!!

    • shannon

      Sometimes they are on their way to a call that doesn’t require lights and sirens (like a domestic violence call) that extra time that he or she has to get to the call could be a matter of life or death for someone.

      • Mg Helio

        Clearly, this was a matter of death for someone. If we’re told that speed limits are there so that lives can be saved, why is it ok for them to speed?

      • Garnet Red

        Check how many officers are injured or killed in car accidents (as well as the other drivers they injure and kill) while driving or responding to calls and then tell me what good they would be if you needed them to show up. Not much good to ANYONE crashed on the side of the road

  • Rick Blase

    That officer was going 88 mph to assist another officer who no longer needed his assistance. I mean, come on people, if this cop was going that fast, how quick can someone going 35 get out of his way?????!!!
    This cop should be ashamed of himself!!

  • jason

    This is a double edged sword. When we have police speeding to assist another officer or to help citizens that are in need unfortunately things like this happen. If we limit how fast police are allowed to drive or put governors on their cars than we will have people complaining that they are not responding fast enough. It’s sad and unfortunate that this man lost his life. Lets not forget though that this officer was also putting his life on the line to assist others.

    • Nick Munyat (@rednick261)

      No amount of reasoning can justify 88 in a 35 mph residential zone with no room for traffic to pull over to get out of the officer’s way. None. The officer is a criminal and ought to be charged with vehicular manslaughter, among other things. There is no justification for anything less.

  • Common Sense

    Hey Slow Down…are you an idiot or illiterate or both? READ: “Troopers who investigated the January 12 crash say Officer Deprenda was responding to help another officer with his lights and sirens on.” Do you know WHY he was responding? No? Perhaps if it was such an emergency, he should have taken his time and done 35mph the whole way, according to your “logic.” Maybe a child’s life was at stake…given your theory on how “things should be,” then if that child died, THAT would be your issue. Lights and sirens were on. That means “GET THE F OUT OF THE WAY.” Sad what happened, but inattentive drivers with the radio too loud, texting/talking on the phone, drunk/high or just plain not paying attention to their surroundings will have this happen. Perhaps people should pay more attention to how they operate their motor vehicles, be responsible for their actions, know their surroundings at all times, or take the bus and not be so quick to point the finger at police or some other scapegoat immediately because its convienient.

    • Jake

      88 in a 35 zone. There is absolutely no need to be doing that speed in a commercial or residential area. Let alone be passing three cars too. How many police officers does it take to pull someone over? Obviously, more than one in Williamsport. That poor guy wouldn’t have had time to react to someone passing him at that speed. At 88 m.p.h. a vehicle is moving 129.06 feet per second or 7,744 feet per minute. That is 1.47 miles for every minute. Is the life of a innocent bystander really worth it? The officer obviously never made it to the call. Sirens or not, one would not have the time to react to someone driving that speed on I180 let alone a street in town.

      • Keith

        I couldn’t agree with Art any more than I do. Too many officers think that they are above the law especially ones under 5 years of service. In fact there are many times the actions of officers are not warrented. The shield states “to protect and serve” Notice protect was first. This officer clearly wasnt thinking of protecting the people on his way to serve as a backup.

    • Tammy

      whether the responding call was for me or my child. i would never want an officer to get killed or kill an innocent person because the officer was not getting there safely…now look ..the officer never made it there shows to be safe than sorry and now there is a death caused by it. I think the officer should be terminated and charged even though he was responding to a call supposedly. Reguardless of any reasons or excuses it was vehicular homicide for his failure to use caution. my prayers and thoughts go out to the deceased family and friends. also to the officer who must live with his stupidity of failing to drive to the scene with saftey and caution of innocent people around. He caused more problems than protecting from harm! nuff said. May God forgive him.

    • whatever

      Do u seriously think u will get the full truth???? Especially with state doing the investigation….cut me a break!!!!! U will hear what they want u to hear…..by the way traveling east on east third street yeah good luck getting out of the way of anything should have went on the Blvd at least there is room to pull over!!!!

    • Nick Munyat (@rednick261)

      No amount of reasoning – not a child’s life in danger, not a heroin dealer resisting arrest, not a house fire… none of which were the case, by the way – can justify this officer so flagrantly speeding in a residential zone where traffic had no opportunity to pull off. There is no situation which justifies the dozens of lives the officer put at risk with his absurdly irresponsible actions. Attempting to justify the officer’s actions only serves to enable the cops to continue and increase their abuses.

  • Nick Munyat

    If he isn’t charged with vehicular homicide (along with a host of related charges), then there is no justice in this.

  • Slow Down!

    He’s lucky he did not hit a child! Max speed in pa is 65. What makes these cops think its OK to go that fast. I live in Muncy and its nothing for our cops to go fast as well. Just flying by passing cars as they were sitting still. Perhaps we need a cap on their speeds?

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