The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 31, 2013

At $500 a day, county saves on teen's care

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — A Northumberland County commissioner Tuesday praised county court officers after learning the $500 a day the county is spending to house a 17-year-old wounded in a confrontation with Sunbury police may be saving taxpayers a fortune.

The county has paid more than $20,000 during the past 40 days to care for and house Naheem Reams, of Shamokin, in the North Central Secure Treatment Unit in Danville. As expensive as that may be, it would cost much more to provide the care that Reams needs in the Northumberland County Prison, officials said.

Commissioner Vinny Clausi said President Judge Robert Sacavage, District Attorney Anthony Rosini and chief probation officer Michael Barvitskie worked together to find the least expensive way to care for Reams while he recuperates from an abdominal wound.

Cases such as this one cost money the county doesn’t have, Clausi said.

“At the end of the year we see these expenses, and they are unpredictable,” he said. “That’s why I want to thank everyone involved in first making sure the individual is being properly taken care of, and second keeping an eye on what the cost is to our county.”

A Sunbury police officer shot Reams in the abdomen on June 5. They said Reams led police on a 2-mile chase through the city that reached speeds of 80 mph and that Reams was shot while trying to run over an officer. Rosini has declared the shooting was justified.

Reams spent several days at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville before being released into the custody of the Northumberland County Juvenile Probation Department. Reams initially was taken to the Central Counties Youth Center in Bellefonte, where he spent only a day before being sent to the Danville unit, where he has remained while recuperating, county officials said.

Rosini said Reams will be charged as an adult. He faces numerous charges, including aggravated assault.

Once those charges are filed, Reams will have a preliminary hearing before Sunbury District Judge Ben Apfelbaum, and depending on the judge’s findings, Reams could be sent to Northumberland County Prison.

“We will cross that bridge when it comes,” Clausi said. “Right now we are lucky that everyone worked together on this and we want this to continue.”