The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 28, 2013

Former teacher faces trial in Mount Carmel hit-run case

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — A Northumberland County judge retained one felony count of hit-and-run, but dismissed four similar charges filed against a former Shamokin elementary teacher.

Victor E. Swaboski III was charged after a March 28 accident on Locust Gap Highway, near the Mount Carmel Elementary School, in which five teenagers allegedly were struck by Swaboski’s vehicle before he fled the scene.

County Judge Charles Saylor determined that one accident occurred March 28, so four other counts of leaving the scene of an accident were dismissed. The district attorney’s office argued that each victim represented a separate accident.

Saylor’s ruling comes three months after another ruling in which three of five felony counts of aggravated assault by vehicle were dismissed. The judge found that injuries suffered by three of the teens did not merit that charge.

Fourteen of the original 21 counts filed against Swaboski are pending in county court.

“The evidence presented at the hearing on the defendant’s omnibus pretrial motion was that the defendant struck all five victims very closely in time and space, nearly simultaneously,” Saylor wrote in the new court ruling. “Accordingly, this court finds that a single accident occurred.”

The judge continued: “When a cause and its result are so simultaneous or so closely linked in time and space such that they are considered to be one event, it can be said that there was only a single accident.”

Swaboski’s blood-alcohol concentration was nearly three times the legal limit when he drove off the road and slammed into the five teens, who were walking along the highway, police documents said. Swaboski fled into Mount Carmel borough, where he was apprehended in the woods, police said.

Swaboski was employed as a Shamokin School District elementary teacher at the time of the crash and has since resigned.