The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 2, 2014

Ex-Hartleton chief ordered to pay back drivers

LEWISBURG — Former Hartleton Police Chief Donald “Larry” Zerbe was ordered Tuesday to pay $3,178 in restitution, including $373 to 12 drivers who made contributions to the Hartleton playground fund instead of paying fines and court costs for speeding violations.

Zerbe, 68, was convicted in December of felony theft by extortion for giving 34 motorists a chance to avoid speeding tickets and fines in exchange for making a donation to the borough’s playground fund. He was acquitted of two other felony counts.

Judge Michael T. Hudock sentenced Zerbe to one year of probation and scheduled a separate hearing to determine how much restitution he would have to pay and to whom it would be paid.

Hudock explained his dilemma in court Tuesday afternoon.

“The court has concerns about the extent of injuries of the so-called victims,” he said, noting that all 34 drivers were cited for speeding.

Of the 34 motorists who contributed to the playground fund rather than defend themselves against a speeding ticket, 22 of them donated less than the amount they would have had to pay in fines and court costs if found guilty.

Twelve drivers contributed varying amounts more than a fine would have cost them, ranging from 50 cents to $111 more each.

Ordering Zerbe to reimburse all 34 drivers would be akin to arresting “a prostitute and giving the johns back their money,” Hudock said.

Instead, he viewed the true victims as the commonwealth agencies that receive a portion of every traffic fine, such as emergency medical services and Mcare, a special fund within the state Treasury established to ensure reasonable compensation for persons injured due to medical negligence.

Defense attorney Hank Clarke, of Pottsville, argued that a third party is not entitled to restitution and asked the judge to consider Zerbe’s limited financial resources now that he’s retired and living on a fixed income.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Crossland insisted all the motorists involved in the case, regardless of how much they contributed to the playground fund, were victims of a crime and deserve restitution.

“They weren’t allowed to participate in the judicial process,” he argued.

 “The money was extorted from them and went to a place it never should have gone.”

Although the money was unlawfully obtained, Hudock determined that the 22 drivers who made financial contributions that were less than the amount they would have paid in fines and court costs were not victims deserving of restitution.

He also ruled the commonwealth and agencies such as EMS and Mcare were victims as defined by the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Compensation Act and would receive most of the $3,178 restitution from Zerbe. The remaining $373 will be paid to the 12 drivers for their excess contributions to the playground fund.

1
Text Only
News
  • Tawny Dog owners not surprised to learn pooches get jealous

    DANVILLE — Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows that pooches can get a little green over how much time you spend with other canines.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lottery Big lottery payouts pay off for seniors

    HARRISBURG — State lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donations to Budd family near $60,000

    SHAMOKIN DAM — The Valley continues to give as fundraisers keep forming and donations steadily pour in for the Budd family, of Ohio, while Sharon Budd continues her fight back from drastic injuries suffered when a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass in Union County slammed through the windshield of the family’s vehicle three weeks ago.

    July 30, 2014

  • B-17 fly-over to honor 'Dutch' VanKirk

    NORTHUMBERLAND — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will soar in honor of the late Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk during his graveside services Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.