WILLIAMSPORT -- A Williamsport police officer has been charged with homicide by vehicle. He was in court Tuesday morning to face charges for a deadly crash.
State troopers say Officer Jonathan Deprenda was traveling at 88 miles an hour earlier this month when his cruiser collided with another car killing a man
Deprenda was charged Tuesday morning with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in connection with that deadly crash.
“His decision to drive that fast under those circumstances constituted recklessness,” said Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt.
State police say that just before the crash Officer Deprenda drove almost three times the posted 35 mile an hour speed limit on East Third Street on his way to help another officer involved in a pursuit of a drug suspect.
“The officer was operating his vehicle as fast as 101 miles per hour on the wrong side of the double yellow line in the oncoming lane of travel,” said Linhardt.
According to state police, the pursuit was called off about one minute before Officer Deprenda's crash. That means Deprenda kept driving at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour even after the pursuit was over.
“The facts are the facts. Furthermore, I support the decision of the district attorney. We will go to great lengths to ensure justice is served,” said Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana.
“All of us were deeply troubled by the circumstances and facts surrounding this tragic accident,” said Williamsport Police Capt. Timothy Miller.
Officer Deprenda is suspended with pay from the Williamsport Police. Williamsport Police Chief Gregory Foresman says the next step is an internal investigation.
“I am saddened that Officer Deprenda's error in judgment has resulted in a loss of life and in criminal charges being filed,” said Chief Foresman
Deprenda was released on bail and he left the Lycoming County Courthouse surrounded by fellow police officers. His next court date is scheduled for February 7.
People in Williamsport we spoke with have mixed emotions about the charges.