SCRANTON -- A group of PennDOT workers played police Friday morning on their way to a work site in Scranton. When they saw a woman being assaulted on the street the crew sprang into action, taking the suspect down themselves.
Those PennDOT workers were not expecting their Friday to be noteworthy, or newsworthy for that matter, when they left south Scranton and headed toward a job site in west Scranton. On their way, they saw a man hit an elderly woman in the face and then, they did what they say they hope anyone would do.
It was the morning rush hour on North Main Avenue in west Scranton. Cars were at a crawl, plenty of people walking on the sidewalks, plenty of things to catch your view.
The PennDOT workers who were on their way to a job site at the time said something stood out. They saw a man approach an elderly woman waiting for the bus and hit her in the face.
"I didn't see where he walked from. I just saw him swinging. We put the vehicle in park and we all got out and went after him," said PennDOT worker Bill Pelick.
Pelick, Thomas Nagle, and Frank Decker jumped out of their crew car and the man took off. It was Nagle who caught up with him first.
Three blocks away Nagle tackled the man and held him in place for about 10 minutes until Scranton Police showed up and took the man into custody.
"As soon as we got out of the truck, he started running. I was thinking he was stealing a purse or something but he wasn't. He just hit the lady. For what reason, I have no idea. But he came out of nowhere. She didn't even see it coming," Nagle said.
Nagle says the 79-year-old woman seemed to be in shock but didn't suffer any serious injury and Scranton Police say she decided not to press charges against the man. Police say the man and woman know each other and had gotten in an argument earlier in the morning.
The PennDOT workers say though their day was out of the ordinary what they did, wasn't and the lesson here, they say, is if you see something that looks wrong, it's best to do the right thing.
"Could be anybody's mother or grandmother, anybody like that, wife, anything like that. You would hope that there's still people with good hearts and good brains out there," said PennDOT worker Frank Decker.
Scranton Police say though the woman decided not to press charges, they did file a harassment charge against the man. He's identified as Sinclair Robinson, 45, from Scranton.