A Coaldale police officer who was seriously injured last month when he was attacked by a man he had pulled over for erratic driving took a councilman and the mayor to task at a public meeting Tuesday.
Patrolman Keith Krapf, whose injuries have kept him off the job since the March 2 attack, is angry over remarks Krapf said Councilman David Yelito made in public to a borough worker.
"Mr. Yelito, you have a problem with the way I handled an incident? There's my chief (referring to Police Chief Tim Delaney) you can speak with him, you can confer with the borough solicitor…"
"You told me what happened," Yelito interjected. The two exchanged heated words.
"Personnel issues stay in here," Krapf said. "Not in the street."
Krapf then turned to mayor Richard Corkery.
"Why did you run for mayor of Coaldale?"
Corkery wanted to know why he was asking.
"I'm a citizen and a taxpayer, and I am asking you a question.
"To do the best I can for the borough," Corkery said. He answered in the affirmative when Krapf asked him if he liked the borough. "Then why do you want to change everything about it?" Krapf asked.
"I think the changes I have in mind are for the betterment of the community," Corkery said.
Krapf referred to a local radio program on which Corkery said he wanted to change the borough's name.
"That's true, but that was a long time ago," Corkery said. "That's true. I did come out with that, but that's not necessarily Coaldale per se. It was everything. But that was a long time ago."
"What seems to be the problem with you?" he asked Krapf.
Krapf also told council about the difficulties he is having with the insurance carrier, saying they refuse to return phone calls, are making it hard for him to obtain proper medication and see the right doctors.
"I'm going through hell with this insurance company," he said.
Krapf praised borough secretary Louise Lill for her efforts to get the company to work with him.
Council has said it is looking into the problems, and have suggested the borough intends to drop the company when its contract ends in the fall.
Earlier in the meeting, Krapf's wife, Angela, also chastised Yelito for his alleged remarks. He did not respond to her statements.
She said Yelito made the remarks shortly after the March 9 public council meeting at which she opposed Mayor Richard Corkery's plan to raise the speed limit on Kline's Hill, in the couple's neighborhood, and about her husband's struggle to obtain treatment through the borough's new workers' compensation insurance carrier.
Yelito's conversation was at the corner of Sixth and Philips streets, she said Tuesday.
Angela Krapf said Yelito was heard saying "who does she (referring to herself) think she is? It takes a lot of (testicles) coming to a council meeting saying she was almost hit seven times on Kline's Hill."
Krapf said the matter affects her family's safety and that she has "every right to come here."
She said that, in the same overheard conversation with the borough worker, Yelito also wondered why the officers "didn't just tase him," referring to Krapf's attacker.
Yelito also said Krapf "does smoke a lot, and it puts him back," she said.
"How much he smokes has nothing to do with this," she said.
The officers did not use the Taser, Angela said, because "there wasn't time. And even if there was time…the other officer who wasn't firing it would have gotten tased as well."
"What they were doing was safety for each other," she said.
Keith Krapf has worked for the borough "for almost six years," Angela said. "He lives to protect this town and he takes pride in doing it. Anybody who knows him and anybody on this council cannot deny that."
"You, Mr. Yelito, are here for three months. You come to my home the day after he's injured, and you question him on how he was hit off that car. That, to me, was just disrespectful."
Yelito at that point began speaking, but Angela asked him to wait until she was finished speaking.
"How dare you? The bottom line is, your actions and your remarks are unacceptable and they need to stop."
She said the "next time any remarks are made about myself or my husband, they will be addressed by our attorney."
If Yelito has further questions, she said, he could accompany Keith to the doctor or visit their home and "see the devastation in him when he finds out he is off yet again for another month because of some guy he was trying to get off the street."
Krapf suffered fractured ribs and an injured shoulder when he was assaulted by Ian Patrick McGregor, 25, of 110 E. High St. Krapf had pulled McGregor over after the man almost hit Krapf's police cruiser head-on. McGregor had also drawn the attention of another officer, Charles Andrew Blesse, who arrived as Krapf stopped McGregor's car.
McGregor has since been released on bail.