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Lehighton man facing jail time for striking fire chief with work vehicle

Published August 13. 2013 05:02PM

A Carbon County man, who struck a county fire chief as he was directing traffic at a charitable event and seriously injuring him, was sentenced to a county prison term on Monday.

Steven M. Schock, 37, of Lehighton, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II to serve eight to 16 months in prison on a charge of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence (DUI). Schock previously pleaded to the charge and one count of DUI. Nanovic ruled the DUI charge merged with the first count for sentencing purposes.

Schock was charged with a July 7, 2012, incident along Lentz Trail in Jim Thorpe. He was operating a United Parcel Service (UPS) van when he struck borough Fire Chief William H. Diehm.

Diehm was volunteering his time and directing traffic for the Race Street Run when he was struck by the van. Diehm suffered numerous broken bones, including a broken pelvis, broken arm, and broken tail bone. He was hospitalized for several weeks.

Police said Schock swerved his van into Diehm's vehicle that was parked off the south side of the eastbound lane and struck Diehm, who was standing next to his vehicle.

Schock showed signs of intoxication and was taken for a blood test, which revealed a .15 BAC.

Yesterday Schock apologized to Diehm's daughter, Bernadette Krajcirik. Diehm, who was present when Schock pleaded guilty in May, was unable to be present for the sentencing.

Schock said he was out drinking heavily the night before the accident because of a family problem.

Defense attorney Angelo T. Almonti said Schock has no prior run-ins with the law and was truly remorseful for what happened.

He said, "He took full responsibility for what happened from the start."

Almonti said Schock was terminated from his job with UPS, but has since found other employment.

Krajcirik told Nanovic that the incident had consumed her father's life for the past year. She said he has suffered much pain and discomfort while recovering from his injuries. She said he spent 10 days at a rehabilitation facility.

She added, "He is a dedicated servant of the public and his community."

She said since his recovery he still responds to emergency situations.

Nanovic noted that the plea agreement reached between the district attorney's office and Schock in pleading to the two counts with others dropped, was approved by the victim.

Noting from a presentence investigation (PSI) report prepared by the adult probation office, Nanovic said Diehm agreed with the punishment recommended.

He said the report states Diehm has made a complete recovery.

Nanovic told Krajcirik, "Your father said, 'Yes he should be punished, but don't kick him when he's down.'"

In addition to the jail term Nanovic ordered Schock to pay a fine of $500, one year license suspension, get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, supply a DNA sample, pay court costs, which average close to $1,000, and pay a $50 per monthly fee while under supervision.

He was granted immediate work release privileges and began his jail term at 2 p.m. Monday.

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