SUNBURY — A suspended correctional officer at Northumberland County Jail was found not guilty on Wednesday of a summary count of careless driving stemming from an incident at the jail in February 2019.
Since the charges were brought 18 months ago against Holly Olvany, 49, of Sunbury, five of six criminal charges were dismissed by Shamokin District Judge John Gembic in April 2019 and one misdemeanor count of using or possessing a urine test kit designed to mask the effects of drugs in urine was withdrawn by the District Attorney's office in September. The summary count was the last remaining charge for Olvany, who remains on unpaid administrative leave.
The summary appeal hearing on Wednesday lasted nearly two hours with testimony from Warden Bruce Kovach, Deputy Warden Brian Smink, Lt. Sarah Johnson, county Detective Degg Stark and Olvany herself. The testimony centered around Olvany's driving on Feb. 4, 2019.
Lycoming County Senior Judge Dudley N. Anderson determined that Olvany was not guilty. He said he was not convinced based on testimony and video evidence that Olvany was acting with disregard for persons or property when she drove away from the scene at the jail in Coal Township.
Stark originally reported, which was not testified to in court because the misdemeanor charges were thrown out or dismissed, that the district attorney's office was investigating on Feb. 4, 2019, an outbreak of alleged illegal drugs inside the new county jail in Coal Township. A K-9 from the Northumberland Montour County Drug Task Force focused on Olvany's locker and her vehicle. Investigators collected evidence from Olvany's locker, but she sped away in her vehicle when approached before law enforcement could stop her, Stark said.
Smink, Johnson and Stark testified that Olvany "squealed" and "spun" her tires when she was leaving, Smink had to step out of the way of the vehicle and then she sped away at a high rate of speed. Olvany said she was leaving for a doctor's appointment, did not spin her tires, and was going the speed limit of 15 mph.
"I felt safe enough to pull out," said Olvany.
Following the decision, Defense attorney Michael Rudinski, of Williamsport, said the video spoke for itself.
"No one was near the car and there were no other cars," he said.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Finn, the lead prosecutor in the case, said he was disappointed in the outcome but respected the judge's decision.