Williamsport Officer Charged With Homicide By Vehicle

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WILLIAMSPORT -- A Williamsport police officer has been charged with homicide by vehicle.  He was in court Tuesday morning to face charges for a deadly crash.

State troopers say Officer Jonathan Deprenda was traveling at 88 miles an hour earlier this month when his cruiser collided with another car killing a man

State police say Deprenda was on his way to help another cop in a pursuit on January 12 when he crashed killing James Robinson, 42, of Williamsport.

Deprenda was charged Tuesday morning with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in connection with that deadly crash.

“His decision to drive that fast under those circumstances constituted recklessness,” said Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt.

State police say that just before the crash Officer Deprenda drove almost three times the posted 35 mile an hour speed limit on East Third Street on his way to help another officer involved in a pursuit of a drug suspect.

“The officer was operating his vehicle as fast as 101 miles per hour on the wrong side of the double yellow line in the oncoming lane of travel,” said Linhardt.

According to state police, the pursuit was called off about one minute before Officer Deprenda's crash.  That means Deprenda kept driving at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour even after the pursuit was over.

“The facts are the facts.  Furthermore, I support the decision of the district attorney.  We will go to great lengths to ensure justice is served,” said Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana.

“All of us were deeply troubled by the circumstances and facts surrounding this tragic accident,” said Williamsport Police Capt. Timothy Miller.

Officer Deprenda is suspended with pay from the Williamsport Police.  Williamsport Police Chief Gregory Foresman says the next step is an internal investigation.

“I am saddened that Officer Deprenda's error in judgment has resulted in a loss of life and in criminal charges being filed,” said Chief Foresman

Deprenda was released on bail and he left the Lycoming County Courthouse surrounded by fellow police officers.  His next court date is scheduled for February 7.

People in Williamsport we spoke with have mixed emotions about the charges.


  • Doug

    I have been a police officer for 38 years. When I am responding to a call that requires lights and siren, I don’t pass other vehicles unless they pull over for me, slow down or there is no on coming traffic and when I come to an intersection I slow down and make sure on coming traffic is stopped. As all police officers like to arrive safety to their incident. I have always said traveling that fast through a small town or a big city is very dangerous. You never know when a child or adult or even a car will pull out in front of you. Yes its wrong to be traveling that fast. I pray for the victim’s family and for the officer.

  • truthseeker

    @ The truth could not agree with you more but in all actuality Foresman just looks like a fool! He is so inept and ineffective and people wondering how somthing like this could happen? HELLO!! Why the hell does he still have a job? Now he is going to do what head up an Internal investigation he can start by looking in the mirror since he is internal affairs at the department! Funny wonder how that investigation is going to conducted? Maybe he should start with a hand mirror in an interrogation room. Lol

  • the truth

    This is all just a ploy he’ll come out not guilty and the whole incident will be forgotten this city is beyond corrupt while Gregory Forsman isn’t busy slandering people he’s doing his best to make his department to look and act credible yet they go after the few people who actually pay taxes and try to help

  • Jess Lynn

    I think that in these cases the person commiting the crime should be charged with the homicide. Just like the law where if a person in killed while commiting a felony than the people who are with him get charged with the murder. This should be no different. The cop would not have needed to speed AT ALL if the idiot drug dealers werent well being idiot drug dealers. Enough is enough already our laws and repercussions are so sissified and a joke. Dont get me started on this. Our justice system is a joke anymore.

  • yo lo

    I don’t know exactly where this happened in Williamsport. But seriously, I can not imagine anyone, even emergency personnel having to travel that rate of speed in a town the size of Williamsport. I am actually shocked that only one person was killed and others were not hurt. Job or no job, I am sorry but this officer definitely had no right to be travelling at this rate of speed and should be held accountable for his actions. It may be unfortunate for him but if it was my family member that was killed, there would be a lawsuit.

  • johnobrien1960

    Well here we go again with the same ol bull about 1 more bad, power craving young top cop wanna be! He’s one of those country cops with not much more training then the local mall security cops who try to pretend there real cops or state police or a major city cop. He’s a true disgrace to law enforcement.Its unfortunate that these wannabie real cops are trusted with the powers,badges,guns,expensive police cars,and most importantly people trust that there actually called law enforcement officers.Hes one of those jerks who get off on speeding with lights+sirens blaring and trying to act+look like he’s another Clint Eastwood aka Dirty Harry while showing off and risking other peoples safty and well being. I could almost lay odds that he was on the job for not more then 1-2 years. These power hungry smucks are all over NEPA towns with no major crime or experienced hard core criminals so when they hear a call over there radios for some petty nonsense they change to those bubblegum chewing wannabe super cops like they day dream of really being! What’s worse is him and his supieriors and tax payers lawyers will manufacture some compleatly idiototic story and plain out lies that the radio didn’t work right in his car or he was in a bad area for reception or some other baked up lies so he had no idea the chase was cancelled. They will unfortunately fabricate some B.S. Story to get over on the district attornys,prosecutors,jury+judges. He’ll proubley even get paid for all the time he steals collecting his pays,benifits+ perks then he’ll surly get his job back and nonthing will happen at all to him. I’m really sorry to say but NEPA is full of these type of wannabe real cops.Also I feel bad for the really good,professional hard working police men who strive to protect our community’s and people who live in the Poconno/NEPA areas and for the DAs,prosecutors,judges who know what really happened but can’t do anything to prove it in court. The ones who hired+trained him should also be held responsible to some extent due to they know which ones do what he dose or did every time they report to duty. I hope the victims family hires a good lawyer or team of lawyers to sue the towns and people who knew they had a power hungry thug on there police force and let him get away with murder!! He should be found guilty and thrown into a prison where he sent people to do hard time and let him see what it’s like and how many (some innocent) are treated everyday! He’s the perfect example of the power hungry cop who would even set up his own grandmother to make an arrest and feel like he’s the top cop of the year!!!
    Anyway God Bless the victims family members and all the other innocent people he’s probley hurt since behind on the job and calling himself a real cop!!!

  • Capt David

    I truly hate cops given that I’m an ex-cop forced to retire because of a BS charge but I have a feeling I know where this whole scenario is going…

    DA, Mayor have to save face in light of public scrutiny and pressure, thus charges………

    White cop, white chief, white DA, white Judge, white mayor…Black Victim…Lycoming County

    Cop has a union and access to the absolute best lawyers that exist…

    DA is going to do his job and give a good argument but may not press issues as much as he would normally do or maybe let an objection or two go…

    The cop’s lawyer will turn “about a minute” into 20 seconds, and his expert accident reconstructionist will prove 88 is a tad high, more like 75, proving he was in the process of slowing down in a controlled and safe manner, not skidding to a stop…

    The response policy and issue, the flashing lights, I’m sure other ambiguous details will arise….The cops lawyer has this won before saying ‘good morning’ and it absolutely sucks. I hope he gets 20 years.

    And how does he get away with suspended with pay? I wan’t paid when they investigated me …them b@$t@rds!!!

  • Towering High

    “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” Luke 12:48
    He used poor judgement during the scope of his job that was entrusted to him. We’re all human, we make mistakes on our jobs etc and we should be held accountable.

  • Rick Rinehart

    To who ever whatever is, You must be a fellow police officer or a friend or family member of Deprenda being so defensive. The point of my mailbox incident was misunderstood by you or you just have a hard time believing that there are crooked cops in our area. And I didn’t get charged for because I was refusing to pay for it because I offered to have it fixed when it happened. My point is the officer abused his power and charged me with criminal mischief when he knew it was an accident and when I went to court for it I plead not guilty. Then the judge stood up and yelled at me saying that I have 10 days to change my plea to guilty or he will make sure I sit in jail. So it was my word against a cops, who wins? $750 for a $20 mailbox is a bit out of line in my eyes!

  • whatever

    I wish everyone would get facts straight and stop acting like u know everything thing….108 to 88 was him slowing down when call came for him to cease to assist…..when someone tells u to slow down or stop it does not happen on a dime…..yes he had his lights on…no Robinson could not pull to the right…no there were not three cops at gunpoint with the person being chased….so sad u think an officer responding to a call where an already convicted heroin dealer with heroin in his car to sell to people so they can od is not as important as a cop responding to other situations……long story short….yes a huge mistake was made and it cost an innocent life and yes that mistake should be and must be dealt with but do not chastise the entire department by thinking they r out to get u because u ran over a mailbox……if u ran over my mailbox I would make u pay for it too!!!!! Thoughts and prayers to the Robinson family.

  • tonysthought

    KEY PART. THE PURSUIT WAS CALLED OFF ABOUT ONE MNUTE BEFORE Officer Deprenda’s CRASH. YET he continued to speed. There was no reason for him to keep traveling at that rate of speed!! Being he was not responding to a call he deserves to be treated as you and I would if we would have done the same thing!! This is disgusting and those sticking up for this punk are just as disgusting. So sad , at 100 miles a hour that kid never even saw or heard a siren! Blessings to his family and loved ones.

  • Nate

    The fact this is even an argument is a joke. This cop was going way to fast for where he was. It’s typical town cop scenario, 4 cops for a blown out of proportion incident and an innocent man dies after the man was already in custody I may add. Imagine if this was your child, mother, father, best friend whatever you’d want justice too. The facts are a normal person doing what this cop did would be going to jail for a long time. He’s no different and deserves no special treatment at all.

  • Rick Rinehart

    I think that officer deserves the charges thrown at him. I also believe that the entire Williamsport, State Police, and Old Lycoming Police Departments, County Judges, and the magistraights in Old Lycoming should be for wrong doings by the police. I have been charged with things that I shouldn’t have and I’m sure I’m not the only one. For instance, I was charged for accidently hitting a mailbox. It was downhill on a wintery night and I slid into the mailbox. Needless to say the mailbox belonged to the cop that pulled in behind me after I pulled over after hitting the mailbox. Long stoy short, I had to pay $750 for a plastic mailbox after being intimidated by the Old Lycoming Magistraight instead of me reporting it to my insurance company. And this isn’t the only incident that I have been wrongly charged with. And this is why I personally have no remourse for any Lycoming County police officer. But that don’t mean that I’m a criminal or a bad person, because I’m not. Its about time the police start taking accountability for their wrong actions.

  • Eric

    The law does require you to move over for emergency vehicles. That law is not more important than a life. Making an arrest is not more important than a life. There are very few extreme scenarios where risking lives would even come close to being acceptable. Some examples might be stopping a nuclear bomb attack, on your way to a school shooting,on your way as the first responder to a home invasion or hostage situation…etc. This was not an extreme scenario that required 88-100 mph on a city street. Lets assume for a moment it was…he would have failed to make it there anyway due to his reckless actions and we would have had 2 tragedies. But, again, it was not. I respect the police and appreciate all they do, but that badge does not give them the right to disregard human life.

  • Keith Hoover

    If you feel that your life is more important than risking potentially a child’s, you’re a selfish person. I know I wouldn’t want anyone to die due to reckless driving while en route to my emergency. This is careless driving regardless on how you look at it. The DA wouldn’t have pressed such charges if they felt the victim was partially at fault. It’s common sense.

  • Bob L.

    OK remember that when a cop is responding to an emergency in which you need help. What is taking them so long? Ridiculous. ALL of you folks are hypocrites. I hope you don’t ever need the police to respond to a situation.

    • Amos Leon

      My question to you then Bob is this. Who did this officer help that night? He was driving like an idiot to get to a pursuit that he was not even part of. I understand how police work. I understand they watch each others backs. I also have enough knowledge to say that in the city of Williamsport there is usally about 4 or 5 police cars out patrolling. so with that being said there is a good chance that there was at least 2 or 3 of them already in the active pursuit. What this man did was negligence and if it were you or I we would have to pay. Their motto is to Serve and protect. Not serve and kill.

    • jstrickland0290


      Learn to read an entire article before making a comment. It just makes you look unintelligent. The officer continued to drive a high speeds after the chase was over.

      “According to state police, the pursuit was called off about one minute before Officer Deprenda’s crash. That means Deprenda kept driving at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour even after the pursuit was over.”

    • Are you serious?

      What is taking him so long!!! It’s because he wrecked the police car on the way to the scene! Killing an innocent man in the process. Thank God he wasn’t needed at the scene because he never made it there. I’m not saying to stop for lunch but over 100mph!!! Come on get real! Any reasonable person would think this is wreckless and dangerous to the public.

    • M R

      Really well what if it was your father, brother, son, mother, sister, or wife that was killed? 88 – 100 MPH in the wrong side of the street in a 35 MPH city street is just plan irresponsible that’s a fact! You must be a cop to think otherwise!

  • Cheryl Burnham

    This incident is tragic for all parties. It was unfortunate the officer made a terrible mistake in judgment and cost a good citizen his life. I pray for healing for both families.

  • Keith Hoover

    A police officer is suppose to take the proper precautions regardless of the emergency. This officer failed to do this and it cost an innocent man his life. The comments that I’ve read on here tell me that none of you know exactly where this incident occurred as there is no place to pull over. An officer going that speed in a residential neighbor is ridiculous. I don’t care if you or I are in a life threatening situation, there isn’t a need to put the lives of others at risk while responding to the incident. A police officer isn’t above the law and they need to practice safety measures too. If that was you or I, the police would’ve been quick in making an arrest. I don’t understand why the officer was traveling that fast and attempting to pass THREE vehicles! I think the DA made the right call.

  • mary lou oleski

    I don’t understand I always pull over when a police car or any emergency vehicle is coming up behind me ,I pulled as far to the right as I can go. if this officer did not drive fast how is he expected to reach the other scene of the crime . I do feel bad for the victim but I think he was a little at fault to. it seems the badge gets no respect I would not want to be a police officer .

      • In the blink of an eye

        I don’t think these people realize how fast and how little time there is to react at that speed. At 88mph a car would pass the entire length of a football field in less than 3 seconds! By the time one would realize what was going on it would be too late to react! These people think there was ten minutes to pull over when in reality there was probably 5-6 seconds to get out of the way!

    • Easier said than done!

      Well at 88mph (129 feet per second) the time you have to realize what was happening and react to the situation and avoid a 4500 lb missile you used up reading this reply. Unless I’m replying to Superman who reacts at the speed of light! Easier said than done!

    • Lois Oliver

      The man pulled out of a side street, there was no sirens. The cop car hit him in the rear, sending him into a house and caught the house on fire. It wasn’t a matter of the man not responding to anything, he just pulled out of a side street, like we have all done 1,000 times.

  • Karen

    I guess I don’t really know the law very well. It was a terrible accident I agree. I also thought when an emergency vehicle/police car had there siren & lights on a driver was required by law to pull over & allow them to go past. I feel bad for the deceased’s family & also this officer who was doing his job & apparently trying to assist another officer who was a rookie & whose life may have been on the line. It certainly is a tough call.

  • Kelli

    he was headed to a residential location where 3 armed police officers had 1 unarmed suspect at gunpoint after that suspect had led them on a high speed chase…even if he hadn’t crashed and killed the innocent driver, it would have taken him at least 5 more minutes at high speeds to get to the location because of all of the cross streets he would have to travel through

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