Harveys Lake Hit-and-Run Driver Sentenced

WILKES-BARRE -- It was an emotional day inside the Luzerne County Courthouse as a hit-and-run victim from Harveys Lake forgave the driver.

That driver, Gregory Strazdus, admitted to the hit-and-run crash, telling police he, "thought he hit a mailbox or something." It was actually a bicyclist he hit, who was left severely injured on the road.

Kurt Manganella of Harveys Lake still has pain when he walks and it hurts even more when he sits, but he was strong enough to face the driver who injured him when Gregory Strazdus of Dallas was sentenced.

"There were a lot of people hurt in this, not just myself. My family suffered greatly," Manganella said.

A judge ordered Strazdus to serve three years on probation with the first nine months on house arrest after a plea deal was reached a few months ago.

Strazdus had admitted to crashing into Maganella while he was biking around Harveys Lake earlier this year, and then leaving the scene and the victim with broken ribs and other broken bones.

"I heard a motor rev," Manganella recalled. "I jumped up thinking it was another car coming and I was going to get hit again, and it was actually, I turned around, and it was him leaving the scene and I was just shocked."

"He made a mistake. All I really wanted was something fair," he added.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened along Lakeside Drive at Harveys Lake. In June of 2015, triathlete Paula Jones was killed jogging along the same road when a suspected drunk driver hit her.

Prosecutors warn people to never leave the scene of a crash.

"I don't know how people can continue to drive knowing that they hit someone. It's unconscionable," said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

In court, Strazduz apologized to the victim, saying he's sorry for disrupting his life. But the victim still has a long way to go before he can fully recover.

"I want to get by it. I want to be done with this. This has been a long nine months," said Manganella.

As part of the plea, Strazdus also must pay $44,500 in restitution for medical costs and lost wages.

7 comments

  • HLloling

    As a member of the Dallas and Harvey’s Lake community, I know Mr. & Mrs. Strazdus very well. I also know Mr. & Mrs. Maganella very well. Both of these people have wonderful families, and great children. It is great that Mr. Strazdus was able to live up to his mistakes, and understand that he needs to change… for the better. It is also great that Mr. Maganella was able to forgive Mr. Strazdus and encourage him to get better and stronger. It is very unfortunate what happened, but it is nice to see both sides working together to get better. I know both families have suffered from this accident, and both sides want to get better… you can see from the video clips. The Strazdus family is one of the most happiest and strongest families I know, and you can see that they accepted what happened and are willing to move forward. The Maganella is also a strong and great family, and you can also see the Kurt has a kind heart and is willing to move forward as well. I think this should be a story for the ages, I wish more stories like this turned out the way they did.

    • #copwatchers.com

      Yawn. He was framed cuz the cops were incompetent with their investigation. Pretty much like the incompetent State Police investigation concerning the four fatality investigation on Interstate 80.

  • Was that a mailbox?

    I’m a firm believer that if your gonna ride your bike on the highways that my gas tax and registration fees pay for you should have to pay a registration fee for your bicycle and it should have safety lights etc!

    • You Are Not Looking

      Why would you want to tax/license the last remaining free modes of transportation? Don’t you believe in freedom at all? Look around! You are paying excess fees for things that don’t even do you any service every day. There needs to be an outlet for people, an opening to allow the human mind to not feel like it’s in a cage 24/7!! Don’t ruin the very very little NICE THINGS that we have left.

  • Leo D. LION

    What did your mother tell you when you were a kid ??? DON’T GO ON THE MAIN STREET RIDING YOUR BIKE!!!! Stay on the sidewalk!!!! You’re never smarter than your mother…. ok

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