Athlete Killed at Harveys Lake Remembered

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HARVEYS LAKE -- A mother from Wyoming County who competed in triathlons is being remembered after she was hit and killed jogging around Harveys Lake.

Police believe the driver who hit her Sunday was drinking all day.

Paula Jones, 31, of Factoryville, was mother of a teenage girl, a wife, and quite an athlete. In just three weeks she was set to compete in an Ironman triathlon.

That's what she was training for when she was running around Harveys Lake Sunday, and that's when she became the victim of deadly hit and run.

While Harveys Lake in Luzerne County is often the site of outdoor activities, this past weekend Lakeside Drive became the site of a deadly hit and run.

"We heard a boom, and with that the neighborhood came out, thinking somebody hit a mailbox, or had a flat tire," recalled Harveys Lake resident Lynn Austin.

When Austin and her neighbors walked out of their homes and crossed the street, they came upon a tragic scene: a woman lying on the ground.

"Our neighbor went down, looked over the bank, and yelled, 'Call 911!'"

Police say Jones was killed after being hit by a car that did not stop.

"Officers that arrived on scene immediately looked at the pieces of debris that were found by the accident. They were then able to determine what kind of vehicle it was. Then the officers then immediately started checking driveways," said Harveys Lake police chief Charles Musial.

Police say within an hour they found the car and driver responsible: Michael Scavone, 50, of Harveys Lake. He has a history of DUIs.

While Michael Scavone is obviously suspect in this investigation, he has not been arrested yet. The Luzerne County district attorney's office says they will likely file charges but not until the investigation is complete.

Those grieving the loss of Paula Jones are trying to remember her for what she was doing at the lake.

"She was working on an Ironman that she wanted to do in three weeks. She was actually on the downslope of her training now," said her friend Thomas Havenstrite.

To honor the athlete she was, her friends are planning to finish the race she planned to run.

"We're trying to put together a team now. We are working with a company for the series that she is doing, to go down and do it as a relay in her remembrance so that way we can get the medal and give it to her daughter," said Havenstrite.

Paula Jones' funeral is scheduled for Thursday and her friends hope the Ironman organizers will allow them to compete in her honor in the triathlon on June 22 in Atlantic City.

8 comments

  • sickofitall

    Why oh why does the legal system protect criminals? How many DUI’s did he have? Why did he have a license? And then the biggest question of all is, Why did a wonderful innocent person have to die instead of this idiot?

  • Joan

    This is tragic and reminds me of #Megsmiles in Virginia when a drunk driver hit and killed her. Pennsylvania has too lenient DUI laws and people get off too easy. In Virginia, it’s much more strict. My condolences to her family. I blame the lenient court system. He should have never had a license with prior DUI’s.

    • The Colonel

      Sorry Joan your very wrong there. A DD almost killed my family in Virginia back in May 2012. It was his 2nd Dui, He was more than DOUBLE the legal limit and fled the scene. He Jumped a median and t-boned my wifes SUV. If she did not see him coming and slam on the brakes, he would have hit right between the front and rear passenger door instead of the passenger front door pillar, surely killing my children!!! The wonderful Virginia legal system let him plead it down to a 1st offense DUI (Misdemeanor) and his other charge went from a felony hit and run to a failure to stop (another Misdemeanor)
      Please don’t tell me their laws are STRICTER!

    • Frank Rizzo

      Yup.. how many times do we see stories “this is their 5th DUI”. I can see someone young, getting one. They need a wake up call and don’t take things seriously. Make it hurt financially. A 2nd one should really hurt and stay ON their record. A 3rd one you could risk giving up your kids, 5-10yrs in prison and $100,000 fine. It’s the only way.

  • rita

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. There are no words at a time like this. May god give you the comfort and strength to get through.

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