Questions Linger After Cop’s Vehicular Homicide Charge
WILLIAMSPORT — There are more questions about the crash that killed one man, and left a Williamsport police officer charged with homicide by vehicle.
At first glance, the case against Officer Jonathan Deprenda seems simple. Authorities say he was driving his cruiser at more than 100 miles per hour on a city street, while responding to another chase that had ended.
We wanted to find the answers to two questions concerning the case against Officer Deprenda: did he hear the radio call that ended the pursuit, and once his cruiser collided with James Robinson’s car, how long did it take for the officer to call in the crash?
Court papers related to the homicide by vehicle case against Officer Deprenda answer some questions but raise others.
Investigators say on that night, Officer Deprenda had been driving on East Third Street, passing vehicles at speeds that topped 100 miles an hour as he responded to help a fellow officer involved in a pursuit.
Newswatch 16 drove the route Officer Deprenda took that night. He started on Maynard Street and court papers say the deadly crash at East Third and Railway Streets happened about two and a half minutes later.
We drove the same route going the posted speed limit of 35. It took us just over five minutes.
At a news conference on Tuesday, investigators said the pursuit was called off nearly one minute before Officer Deprenda called in the crash.
But some questions remain.
Did Officer Deprenda hear the radio call that ended the pursuit? And how soon after the crash did he call it in?
Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt says he is not allowed to speak to facts that are outside of public record.
He says in an email, “the questions you ask are good ones, and ones no doubt the jury will ask as well.”
Officer Deprenda was released on $25,000 bail. He is suspended with pay from the Williamsport police department.
Some callers to Talkback 16 had questions about that.
Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana says the law requires Deprenda to be paid while an internal investigation is ongoing.