Delivery truck driver waives hearing for hitting chief
A Lehighton delivery truck driver, who police say was drunk when he struck and severely injured Jim Thorpe Fire Chief Bill Diehm in July, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday on aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, and related charges.
The charges against Steven M. Schock, 36, which include aggravated assault by vehicle, also a felony; two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol; reckless driving; careless driving; and (failing to drive) on the right side of a roadway, will be sent on to Carbon County court.
The hearing would have been held before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe. Schock, represented by attorney Angelo T. Almonti, remains free on $50,000 percentage bail.
The charges were filed by Jim Thorpe Police Sgt. Michelangelo S. Bokeko.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:
Diehm was struck at 10:25 a.m. July 7 as he directed traffic on Lentz Trail near the water filtration plant. Jim Thorpe Patrolman Daniel Long responded, and found Diehm, with severe cuts on his arms and head, lying on the road behind a UPS van.
A witness, Bruce Solomon of Jim Thorpe, told police he was sitting in a fire tanker truck, watching the Race Street foot race when he saw the van, traveling east, swerve and strike Diehm's vehicle, which was parked off the side of the road.
As Solomon looked on, the van struck Diehm, knocking him along the passenger side of his vehicle, between it and the van. Diehm ended up lying in front of his vehicle.
Long asked Shock what happened. Schock told him that he had seen a car traveling west on Lentz Trail, that he saw runners, and saw Diehm standing at the rear of his vehicle, putting things into it. He said he moved over and kept driving when he heard a noise. Schock said that he stopped the van and got out to check when he saw a man lying behind the van.
Schock said he never saw Diehm at the side of his vehicle.
As Long spoke with Schock, he smelled alcohol on the man's breath. He asked Schock to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which Schock failed. Long arrested Schock on suspicion of driving under the influence, and took him to Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital, Lehighton, for a blood-alcohol test.
The test revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.154 percent. The threshold for drunken driving is 0.08 percent.
Long also spoke with Diehm, asking him what had happened. Diehm said he was standing by his vehicle, wearing a reflective vest, taking pictures of the runners when the van swerved into him, causing him to roll along the driver's side of his vehicle before hitting the ground.
On Aug. 8, Diehm told Bokeko that he had suffered a fractured left wrist, arm and hip; a fractured pelvis, tailbone, nose and right-hand ring finger in the incident.