WILLIAMSPORT — The serious charges against a police officer bring mixed emotions for people we spoke with in Williamsport.
For friends of victim James Robinson, there’s a sense of justice being served but some others believe these charges might go a little too far.
More than two weeks after Williamsport Police Officer Jonathan Deprenda crashed into James Robinson’s car along on East Third Street, he’s now facing the consequences.
The Lycoming County District Attorney’s office filed homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter charges against officer Deprenda, charges friends of the victim, James Robinson, feel are more than justified.
“I feel like justice was served, you know there’s some accountability there and his death wasn’t for nothing,” said the victim’s friend Amy Carter.
It was January 12 when Deprenda crashed into Robinson’s car, speeding at upwards of 100 miles an hour responding to a call, according to the D.A.
It’s a scene Robinson’s friends say still haunts them.
“God, it’s just awful. I get chills when we drive by that area just knowing what happened to him. He didn’t deserve that,” said Carter.
Carl Gibbs of Williamsport was planning to record music with Robinson and was surprised to hear that charges were filed against Officer Deprenda for his friend’s death.
“I thought, I didn’t think anything was going to happen. I thought he was just going to get a slap on the wrist and that was it,” said Gibbs. “So, it’s good to see that this is happening.”
Just across from city hall, Ruth Sklar of Williamsport recalled the night of the deadly crash.
“In a way I think he was just doing his job although maybe too zealously,” Sklar said.
Sklar doesn’t fully believe Deprenda deserves to face jail time for an accident on the job.
“I feel for him because I’m not convinced he’s totally at fault.”
It’s a decision Williamsport leaders support with a heavy heart.
“We have a duty to protect the public and seek the truth. No one is above the law,” said Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana.
Williamsport’s public information officer said that this accident has caused each and every law enforcement officer to reevaluate the way they conduct themselves on the job.