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Wrong-way Driver Sentenced for Deadly Crash

SCRANTON -- A driver who went the wrong way on the interstate has been sentenced to prison for the death of another driver

Prosecutors say that Adam Kovaleski of Carbondale was almost four times the legal limit in 2015 when he got on Interstate 81 in Scranton going the wrong way. After a five mile trip, he collided with another car killing Timothy Kunis of Milford.

Kovaleski learned Thursday he will spend at last three years in prison for the crash.

Kovaleski is a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard who has served tours in Iraq and Kuwait. In court, a former commander called him "the best" soldier.

But, he struggled when he came home.

Kovaleski admitted to a drinking problem and PTSD factors that could have led to the deadly crash on October 15, 2015.

Kovaleski killed Timothy Kunis of Milford in a crash along Interstate 81 in Dunmore.  Kovaleski was going the wrong way on the highway.

"If you're finding yourself in a situation where you need help, please ask for help. Let's try to get the services and the treatment that you need before we get to a critical stage such as this, before someone's life is lost," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon.

Kovaleski pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle while DUI earlier this year, saying in court he was eager to take responsibility.

"He could have dragged this out for another year and a half on appeals, but he just told me flat out, 'I'm pleading guilty, I'm not putting that family through this anymore,'" said his attorney Paul Walker.

Kovaleski faces a mandatory three years in prison. The judge added an additional three months because he was going the wrong way.

If the case had gone to trial, Kovaleski's attorney says he would argue that poor signage at the Moosic Street off-ramp in Scranton contributed to the crash.

"We had an expert report that talked about the signage out there," Walker said. "I drive that route every day going to work, the signage there is lousy. There's an enormous concrete pillar there that blocks the signage. PennDOT has changed the signage since the date of this incident."

Kovaleski was sent right to prison after his sentencing. He will serve a minimum of three years and three months and a maximum of eight years.

13 comments

  • Solomon Grundy

    Blame it on the poor signage…not the fact the clown was 4 times the legal limit and probably couldn’t operate a kitchen sink let alone a vehicle…these drunks need to be dealt with more stricter penalties…what joke this court’s system is

  • mcwhat

    God bless the vitim and his family. I know the family of the guilty party. They ate heartbroken for the victims, victims family, as well as, their son. He also feels horrible and wanted to take responsibility for the crime. Tragic mistake. Let’s all take heed.

  • AMY

    ALCOHOLISM IS A DISEASE. HE HAS OWNED UP TO WHAT HE DID. HE KNOWS HE WAS WRONG. HE IS TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS TO MAKE THIS AS EASY AS HE CAN FOR THE FAMILY OF THE VICTIM. HE IS ALSO TRYING TO HELP HIMSELF. DON’T PRESUME TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EITHER SIDE OF THIS SITUATION. ITS VERY HARD FOR ALL INVOLVED .ALTHOUGH TURNING YOUR LIFE AROUND AND DOING THE RIGHT THING WON’T CHANGE IT ALL: IT WILL HELP FOR IT NOT TO HAPPEN AGAIN. ALCOHOLISM IS A DISEASE! WHETHER HE HAS PTSD OR NOT: HE IS STILL SUFFERING. IT IS UNFORTUNATE ON SO MANY LEVELS.

    • Lee

      Alcoholism may be a disease, but getting in your car and driving in that condition is a CHOICE! He chose to get in that car, and killed a husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. A man whose only “mistake?” was driving home from work, at the same time that this selfless moron DECIDED to get in his car and drive . He’s taken responsibility for his actions? Awesome for him, that he’s still here to make that proclamation, and walk away from it. Not so awesome for Tim Kunis’ family, friends and loved ones. Justify it all you want. This was not an “accident” or “bad mistake.” This was a senseless, selfish decision, that resulted in the murder of an innocent man. 3 years for taking this man’s life? Not NEARLY enough!
      R.I.P. Timmy. We miss you.

    • yfzse

      im glad hes owned up to it, and it may be a disease, but if you don’t drink in the 1st place you don’t have to worry about it!

  • Matthew

    I don’t care if he served his country, he’s an adult and made poor choices that got someone killed. Three years is not enough. That’s a slap on the wrist. Start locking up drunks who kill people for 25 years minimum and maybe people will think twice before doing it. PA is a joke. My heart goes out to the victims family.

    • Givemeabreak

      He had no choice they caught him. It’s not like he pleaded guilty. The state of PA is making him take responsibility.

  • Kraven Morehead

    Tragic situation, but at least the guy is taking responsibility even if his slime ball attorney is trying to argue why his client is not at fault sure to signage.

    • Givemeabreak

      He could have told his lawyer he just wanted to plead guilty if he really wanted responsibility. Remember he chose to get bombed, drive the wrong way and then killed a man.

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