Police Chief’s Crash Under Investigation

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HAZLETON -- Hazleton's police chief is on medical leave until Monday after he was injured in another crash.

The one that happened Wednesday is the second involving the chief in a little more than a year.

An investigation is now underway to see who was at fault.

Hazleton's Police Chief Frank DeAndrea's unmarked SUV crashed Wednesday on South Cedar Street.

Chief DeAndrea and a man driving a pickup truck, Edgard Gonzalez, were injured. Gonzalez said he blames the chief.

"It's his fault, his negligence, that's what I can say sir."

Police said Gonzalez was traveling south on Cedar Street when his vehicle and Chief DeAndrea's unmarked SUV collided. DeAndrea's vehicle ended up in steel pole.

Police say the chief had his emergency lights activated but the mayor said the chief's siren was not turned on.

"He did have lights and he did have an audible warning device which is his horn and it was working," said Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi.
"So he was using his horn and not the siren?"

Gonzalez said he didn't see the emergency lights or hear anything unusual.

"He should have his sirens on his lights on. That was negligent, that could get someone killed."

The mayor says he hasn't decided yet whether to ask for state police to take over the city's investigation. But that's what Gonzalez and his wife Debra want.

"There should be an independent investigation because other police officers will tend to go to his side, so if you get an independent agent out there, there is no favoritism." Debra Gonzalez explained.

Chief DeAndrea is on medical leave as a result of the crash and wouldn't talk about it. He promised to comment Monday when he returns to work.

The latest crash is the second for the chief in just over a year.  He was cited by state police last year for running a red light and hitting a motorcyclist. A judge found Chief DeAndrea not guilty.