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Deadly Police Crashes

JIM THORPE — State troopers said part-time Nesquehoning Officer Steven Homanko was driving his cruiser toward Jim Thorpe Monday night with his lights and sirens on when he lost control on Route 209.

His cruiser hit a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, killing Carola Sauers of Hazleton and injuring her husband, Michael Sauers.

“The family is going through a lot of grief over nonsense, and it’s a shame that this happened,” said Lou Snyder of Jim Thorpe.

State police are investigating whether Homanko was involved in a police chase.

Newswatch 16 spoke with some people who said they were listening to police scanners the night of the wreck.

They said what they heard leads them to believe it was a chase.

“They should have called it off before someone actually got killed,” said Shannon Ciocca of Jim Thorpe.

Some living in Jim Thorpe said the vehicle Officer Homanko was looking for Monday night was found shortly after the wreck on Fourth Street in the borough.

“The aftermath of everything, four police officers, four cop cars and a yellow Neon pulled over,” said James Strubinger of Jim Thorpe.

The crash involving Homanko is the second deadly crash involving a police officer in our area this year.

In January, 42-year-old James Robinson died in a wreck in Williamsport.

Investigators charged Williamsport Officer Jonathan Deprenda with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.

They said he was recklessly speeding to a pursuit.

“It shouldn’t have happened, absolutely shouldn’t have happened,” said Ciocca.

A police chief and instructor at Lackawanna College’s Police Academy in Scranton said state law requires each municipal police department have a policy on police pursuits.

Each cadet in the academy is taught to weigh the risk to the public against the immediate need to apprehend someone.

Every police department is required to submit paperwork to the state after each police pursuit.

Then, the state police put together annual reports.

According to the latest report, in 2012, there were 1,522 police pursuits.

More than 500 ended in crashes.

Fourteen people died as a result, 13 were violators, and one was an uninvolved person.

“It’s scary to think about it because I could have been in the car too, could have been me and my wife driving around, who knows?” said Jennifer Pape of Jim Thorpe.

39 comments

  • The silent voice

    Because of one officer’s poor judgment and tragic accident you bash all police. You people should be ashamed of yourselves you have no idea! They go above and beyond to protect you and save your life and through it all they are putting their lives in danger and at risk to protect the lives of others that they don’t even know, and this is how you talk about them.

    I can tell you this I could never do their job, for what they do and what they have to go through trying to protect, and all they get is bashed, why? Because of those very few officers that do make poor decisions.

    Just because you may get arrested or get a ticket doesn’t make them a bad cop, it’s their job and you’re the one who broke the law and it is their job to enforce the laws when broken.

    Their families and loved ones see these comments and how do you think they feel. Their husband, wife, daughter, or son go to work to protect and risk their life for you and they may never see them again if they die in the line of duty trying to help, and they see unappreciated you are.

    It was one officer people not all officers just ONE, realize that!

  • jokester

    You people crack me up. Instead of praising this officer for actually being aggressive and fighting to take trash, crime, scumbags, off your streets, you bash him. You probably are the scumbags whom he would be arresting or has arrested.

  • Dee

    I expect that Officer Steven Homanko was drug and alcohol tested. I’m looking for the results of those tests to be published. It’s hard to believe a person of sound mind behaves in the manner of Officer Homanko. It’s time for the people of Nesquehoning and McAdoo to stick together and demand the firing of these unqualified, incompetent officers. These men in blue are not concerned with protecting residents in these communities but harass, lie and cheat under the guise of doing a job. If the chief, mayor and council refuse to fire these officers then they need to be fired. Now what are the results of Officer Homankos blood tests?

  • Bill

    The one thing that bothers me about this is, a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with a V8 high powered engine being shown up by a 4 cylinder Dodge Neon. To a point where the police Interceptor loses control. The story is just not adding up

  • Billy

    Dear McAdoo Chief,
    Why do you think its ok to let your cops harass the people of McAdoo? Do you even really care or are you more worried how they make you look? They make you look weak, like you have no control. You looked a little frazzled in the news interview. You keep referring to that Title 75 book and quoting what it says. We dont care what it says and your cops dont either because they pull people over for NO reason. Faulty light or not, your getting pulled over. Do you have a book for that? I didnt think so. I know this is laughable to you because you live in Beaver Meadows but this is serious to us. This takes away from our quality of life and makes for a scary situation. I know im scared. This is like one of those bad cop movies on TV where the cops do whatever they want. And that is NO EXAGGERATION. This is where we live, play, work, etc. Memories are made here. Instead of referring to “title 75″ book maybe refer to the bible a little bit. Ive been praying that you would do the right thing for 2 months now. Maybe these young citizens from town are a Godsend.
    Thank you for your time, Bill

    • Will Robinson

      All the more reason to fire this idiot chief and his hoods. There is no justification to pull people over and hassle them over a burned out license plate light. I don’t care what Title 75 says. How about treating people with respect. How about treating people as you would want to be treated. If this clown chief is going to defend his hoods, he belongs in jail, just like his goons.

  • Todd Reeder

    The other night a police officer fell asleep at the wheel at the end of his shift and crashed in to a ditch. The department’s chief said charges won’t be filed against him. Charges would be filed if it was a citizen.

    • Matt

      This was South Center Twp Columbia county. Not only isnt the cop charged after he fell asleep at the wheel he also wasnt drug or alcohol tested becasue they subject there own to the testing.There are different set of rules for cops and this proves it. For all we know and you can assume anything you want because there isnt any evidence to contrary. I think the cop may have taken some heroine from somebody earlier in his shift didnt report the crime and used the heroine and nodded off.

  • Pennywise

    “’It’s scary to think about it because I could have been in the car too, could have been me and my wife driving around, who knows?’ said Jennifer Pape of Jim Thorpe.”

    “My wife?” I didn’t know that was legal in PA yet. Oh, yeah. A.G. Kane’s cherry-picking which laws to uphold. I remember now.

  • Everyone

    Needs more national spot light. Alex Jones would be perfect. I already know he has some knowledge of it. If everyone else sends it his way, there will be more exposure as well! That’s what these little towns need when peoples voices are falling on deaf ears. And as far as reports going. Verbal or written, they should all be taken seriously. Instead of turning people away when going in to make a verbal complaint. Don’t you think it’s your job & duty to redirect them correctly with filling out a paper for the written report, rather than saying okay, we’ll take care of it & see you out the door. Maybe that’s why there were more verbal complaints, than written ones. They obvouisly need new management or taught better how to address complaints & help the people, rather than turn the backs & ignore it. Don’t Tread On Me!

    Also, I feel for this family. My families prayers go out to their family. Such a shame, she was a great woman who still had so much life yet & gave so much to communities around her. She will be greatly missed.

  • sally

    The police are breaking the law every single day…..When not in pursuit. ..they are constantly speeding while just normal driving….it’s not right that they pull someone over …issue a ticket….get in their cars and speed away doing speeds 75mph and 80mph breaking the law while not in any pursuits. …. We he is this allowed? It’s like a double standard….don’t you think?

    • Todd Reeder

      A local police officer told me that they can speed to get to the police station in a non emergency if no one else is on duty. He said it was in the vehicle code. He was going 65 mph or faster in a 25 mph zone. So why do police need to speed to get to the police station in a non emergency if no one else is on duty. They don’t.

  • John Mansky

    The officer needs to be reprimanded, and prosecuted. There are no side roads or turn-offs on 209 between Nesquehoning and Jim Thorpe, so a roadblock could have been quickly and easily established in Jim Thorpe. The cop was reckless, and needs to face the consequences of taking an innocent life.

  • McAdoo Punk

    My friend from McAdoo has no license and still drives from time to time. Well HOMANKO knows that my friend dont have a license so what we do is move the car and watch Homanko drive around his house like a mad hornet. Everytime a car similar (common car) to his goes down 309 he will FLY down the street after them, 5 out of 10 times pulling them over.
    We stand there and watch this idiot go crazy looking for Randy driving his car w/out any license. Then after we get bored with that we will go for food or something (not randy driving) and sure enough. We snapped a pic of him once bc of the look on his face when he seen Randy was in the passenger seat, lmao !! FUNNNNY

    • McAdoo Punk

      His buddy Officer Carilla is notorious for the same EXACT behavior as him. Pulling people over with out cause, eventually he will be in trouble one day too bc mcadoo chief has no control over these kids. i think the chief actually gets his orders from the 2 punks,——no joke

      • Will Robinson

        It is time to fire the McAdoo police chief and all of his part time goons. As it stands right now, the borough would be better off without the entire corrupt department.

      • Will Robinson

        So Carilla is out of control? The useless chief does nothing. Council does nothing. That leaves one option. You and a couple of your buddies drive around McAdoo, and Carilla will eventually pull one of you over. The rest join your buddy and rearrange Carilla’s face. No one saw or heard anything. End of problem cop.

  • Big Ed

    If you civilians race way over the limit running from the Police, and you hit and kill or hurt anyone in my family you had better hope the Cops get to you before I do ! That’s all I am gonna say about that ! To you Fast and Furious wannabees, you hurt or kill someone in my family with your wrecklessness your gonna learn what Fast and Furious means as it is taken out on you, and you won’t likely be driving again !

  • Rupert

    When I was a stupid kid (14-15) we used to have parties and a COP would pull people over and CONFISCATE their DRUGS for our party or sometimes the DISPATCH LADY would bring them from the EVIDENCE ROOM. Once my WIFE and DAUGHTER (10) asked a COP for directions and he was CRAZY MEAN and wanted to know what the H… we were doing in that town if we did not know our way around I felt as if I would have said something I would have been put in jail or worse, BANG BANG.

  • Randy

    How are they going to investigate the crime seen, and what kind of charges will he receive for his failure to negotiation a sharp curve and the cause of this persons death, his neglect in any case has cause and/or a death in this situation. It appears the person he might have been pursuing has safely rounded the same corner, where is the report from the C.O.M. Center, where they should have record of his activity for his lights on. I would hope it is mandatory for a “call in” to the dispatcher before putting their lights on for any reason.

  • Rupert

    To many CRIMINAL COPS in this state, I am scared to pull over for the cops anymore guess they will just shoot me and my family one day. Sometimes I am more scared of them than the one being called the bad guy.

    • David Booth

      Try breaking down on the turnpike. The power trippers their are hilarious. The ones that patrol that must hate their traffic duty life for they are the rudest most arrogant dweeds. Is anyone surprised that most are divorced or single

  • Jess

    Chases should not even be an option! I’m sure they already ran the plate as they were driving behind the vehicle. It’s nonsense! Go sit at their home and wait for them to arrive…they have dashboard cameras that tape the car and such…why can’t that be enough?! Why put innocent lives in danger?!

    • The kid

      Witnesses say he wasn’t behind the car, he had a personal vendetta for a guy and found out he was on his way to Jim Thorpe, and the cop crashed on the way. This incident is unfortunate but it could have been prevented in so many different ways

      • The sister

        He did. It was my brother and his girlfriend. My brother doesn’t have a license and nor was he driving. They saw no flashing lights behind them. And when they got pulled over minutes later they had no idea what was going on. Homanko just has a hard on for certain people. He was wrong and should be fired.

    • Buffy

      That’s a great idea ! Once you get the plate, just use unmarked cars in vicinity of home, wait till driver comes home and gets out with vehicle then off, then if they run on foot and resist then —> CHARGE, STUN, TAZE, Billy Club the wreckless driver into compliance !

  • MsM

    “According to the latest report, in 2012, there were 1,522 police pursuits.

    More than 500 ended in crashes.” That’s one third ending in crashes, quite alot.

    13 were violaters, oh well. next time don’t be a troublemaker and trouble won’t find you!

    Fourteen people died as a result, 13 were violators, and one was an uninvolved person. One or two innocent victims of these chases are one or two too many. There has to be a better way. Have different cruisers pick up “the chase” along the way…jst stay one them long enought not to lose them until they can be blocked off. Criminals are already stupid so they won’t care who they mow down to get away.

  • Sean Christian Homes

    Very sad. The police just can’t let people run off though because everyone will just speed off. The police need new technology that could either disable a vehicle or scan the plate from a distance. They also need to quadruple fines and penalties on those who run away when the sirens are on.
    This problem has been around since cars were invented. We have the technology, solve it already. Does anyone do anything anymore? Mayors, police, inventors, politicians? Does anyone actually pursue problems anymore? When was the last time you saw progress from anyone? Vote out ALL politicians. It’s a duty, not a career.

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