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Lansford man faces resisting arrest, several other charges

Published February 26. 2013 05:03PM

John Vanak, 57, of 43 Centre St., Lansford, faces charges from an incident which took place on Feb. 9 at 5:35 p.m. at 37 Centre St. Charges of resisting arrest, persistent disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, careless driving, reckless driving, driving upon a sidewalk, and parking where signs prohibit parking were filed by Officer Christopher Ondrus.

On Feb. 9, at about 5:35 p.m., Ondrus received a dispatch that a vehicle was driven into a residence at 37 Centre St. and the driver exited the vehicle and went into another residence.

Ondrus arrived and spoke with Jonathan Leith, who observed the incident. He stated he was traveling south on Centre Street and observed a Jeep Cherokee perpendicular to the road. His initial thought was that the driver was either trying to turn into Kline Ave. or might have been in an accident. As Leith got closer, he observed the vehicle drive slowly into the railing and front steps of 37 Centre Street.

Leith stopped his vehicle and observed the driver back up and drive into the railing again at a much faster speed. He backed up again, blew the horn, and then drove into the railing again, hitting it even harder. While he was ramming the vehicle into the railing, Leith heard the driver yelling, but he could not make out what he was saying. The driver then backed the vehicle up and parked the vehicle in a parking space reserved for Assistant Fire Chief Ronald Hood, and casually walked into his residence at 43 Centre Street. This is the residence of the listed defendant John Vanak.

Leith stated that the driver of the Jeep then came out of the house and went back into the vehicle. He again yelled something and also extended his middle finger toward the house. He retrieved something from the vehicle and went back to 43 Centre Street.

While speaking with Leith, we both looked up and observed Vanak, who is known to me, staring at us from his front porch.

Ondrus looked at the front of 37 Centre St., which is the residence of Ronald Hood, and observed sets of tire tracks in the snow which went from the street, onto the sidewalk, and then stopped in front of a wrought iron porch railing, which had extensive damage and was pushed into the steps. The vehicle was still parked in the reserved space and Ondrus observed damage to the bumper from impacting the railing.

Summit Hill Police Officer Joshua Carter arrived on scene and Ondrus explained to him that Vanak was driving the Jeep and he was the individual on the porch. As police approached Vanak, he began to yell to them.

Vanak was advised he was being placed under arrest. Both officers attempted to handcuff him and he began to resist. Both officers had to tell him numerous times to stop resisting. Ondrus was able to get one handcuff on Vanak's right arm, but Vanak then froze and would not put his hands behind his back, pulling his arms toward his chest. He stated he was not going anywhere and attempted to go back into his residence, while both officers pulled him away from the door.

At that point, all three fell to the floor, knocking over a chair. Substantial force was required to overcome his resistance and after a brief struggle, police were finally able to get Vanak handcuffed.

Both officers then attempted to walk him off the porch and he refused to move. He stated he was sorry for what he did. He had to be told numerous times to cooperate and he stated he was cooperating, but would not comply with the officers' requests. Eventually, he agreed to cooperate and was able to be walked off the porch.

Ondrus then spoke with Vanak's wife, Ruth, and she stated that she and Vanak were in the Jeep, and he pulled into the reserved parking space. She told him that he couldn't park there. Vanak stated that Hood is only an assistant chief. Both then exited the vehicle. Later, she looked outside and observed the Jeep moving forward and in reverse and she thought he was stuck in the snow.

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