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Slatington hit-and-run suspect facing trial

Published June 06. 2012 05:01PM

A Slatington man involved in a hit-and-run vehicle accident will soon face court.

Joshua Stubits, 26, of 6634 State Route 873, was arraigned Monday night by District Judge Rod Beck of Slatington on charges of accidents involving death or personal injury; a felony accidents involving death/injury-not properly licensed, also a felony; and accident involving damage-attended vehicle/property, a misdemeanor.

Stubits also faces charges of registration and certificate of title required; notice of change of name or address; driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked; immediate notice of accident to police department; vehicle turning left; careless driving; and duty to give information and render aid.

A preliminary hearing for Stubits has been scheduled for 2 p.m. June 12 at the Lehigh County Courthouse.

Stubits is currently incarcerated in Lehigh County Prison in lieu of $50,000 straight bail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Thomas DiMaggio of Bethlehem State Police:

At about 8:44 a.m. on May 28, DiMaggio was dispatched to a hit and run crash on Route 873 at Hill Street, Washington Township, according to the affidavit.

At about 9:50 a.m., DiMaggio interviewed Salvador Rios, of Palmerton, as he was being attended to by EMS personnel, at which time Rios stated that he was riding his motorcycle south on 873 when all of a sudden, a small orange car turned right in front of him, the affidavit says. Rios stated that he tried to stop, but there was nothing that he could do.

At about 9:55 a.m., DiMaggio interviewed Daniel Afflerbach, who stated that he was in the Sunoco gas station parking lot when he heard a crash. Afflerbach stated that he saw the car that was involved in the crash pull into the same parking lot that he was in. Afflerbach stated that the orange car never stopped, and continued through the parking lot and then exited the parking lot back onto 873. He stated that the car then turned onto Hill Street, and he lost sight of the car. He stated that while the car was in the parking lot, he memorized the license plate, which he gave to police as Pennsylvania registration DVBB175.

DiMaggio then ran the registration, and discovered that the registration was on a 2009 Kia. The registered owner was Ashley Heckman. The registration had expired in April of 2012.

At around noon, DiMaggio viewed security footage from the Sunoco gas station, which shows a motorcycle traveling south on 873 and a small orange-colored car traveling north on 873. The footage shows the small orange-colored car turn left directly in front of the motorcycle. The footage shows the small orange-colored car complete its turn into the parking lot without stopping.

At about 5 p.m., Heckman was interviewed by Trooper Raymond Judge. At that time, Heckman stated that her boyfriend, Stubits, was the operator of her vehicle at the time of the crash. She stated that Stubits was using her car to buy cigarettes at a local convenience store down the road. She stated that the store was located at Route 873 and Hill Street, and that she allowed Stubits to use her vehicle despite having the knowledge that his license was suspended, the vehicle's registration was expired, and that the insurance on the vehicle had expired due to a non-payment.

Heckman further stated that several minutes after Stubits left their residence, she received a phone call from him. She stated that Stubits told her that he had been involved in a collision with her vehicle, and that he had turned left in front of a motorcycle. She stated that Stubits told her that he left the scene of the accident without stopping because he feared that he would be arrested.

Heckman then stated that Stubits dropped the vehicle off at his friends house located at 6727 Old Grange Road in Slatington. She stated that his friend, Kyle Schneck, drove Stubits to her residence, and then all three of them drove to 6727 Old Grange Road to move the vehicle to Stubits' mother's residence in New Tripoli. She then stated that they left the vehicle there and went to Northampton to get another vehicle to go back to their apartment on Route 873 where they have been living at for several months.

A check of the defendant showed that Stubits' license was currently suspended.

On June 3, DiMaggio interviewed Schneck, who stated that he was at home when Stubits drove the orange Kia Rio to his house in the morning and told him that he had hit a tree about an hour before his arrival. He stated that Stubits asked for a ride to his apartment on Route 873, and that he drove him to the yellow apartment building, where they picked up Heckman and drove back to Schneck's residence. He stated that Heckman then got into the car and followed him and Stubits to New Tripoli, where they left the car. He stated that he then drove Heckman and Stubits to a Northampton address and dropped them off.

At about 8:50 p.m. June 3, DiMaggio was informed by Rios that from the crash, he had suffered multiple road rashes, cuts and scrapes on his body. He further stated that he suffered a concussion from the crash, a large welt on his head, and lost feeling in the second toe on his right foot.

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