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.