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Two officers assaulted in separate incidents

Published May 23. 2013 05:03PM

State police at Lehighton reported on two assault on police officers incidents - one occurring in April and the second in this week.

The first incident occurred on Apirl 15 about 11:55 p.m. in Lehighton. A Lehighton police officer was the victim and the borough police department requested state police to investigate the incident.

Troopers said the incident occurred along SR2010 (E. Bridge St.), near SR209 (Bankway). Officer Matthew B. Bender was conducting a traffic stop and standing in the right eastbound lane of 2010, just east of 209, when he observed a 1995 Cadillac Seville sedan traveling westbound in the right lane.

Bender signaled the driver to stop and pull over due to a vehicle code violation. The Cadillac traveled southwest across the centerline and into the eastbound lane where the front driver side of the vehicle struck Bender.

After striking the officer the Cadillac traveled southeast in the eastbound lane and came to rest facing southeast in the eastbound lane.

The driver was identified as Mark Christian Binder, 25, of Jim Thorpe.

Bender was taken to the Lehighton hospital for treatment of injuries and later released.

Binder was taken into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) and was also taken to the Lehighton hospital for a blood test.

As a result of the investigation troopers charged Binder with one felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, two counts of DUI, summary counts of obedience to authorized persons directing traffic, driving on roadways laned for traffic, duty of driver in emergency response areas, driving a vehicle at a (un) safe speed, careless driving, reckless driving, and occupant protection.

He was arraigned before District Judge Edward Lewis, of Jim Thorpe, and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

Monroe incident

The second assault on a police officer incident occurred on Tuesday, May 21, about 6:49 p.m. at 347 Vista Circle, Saylorsburg, in Ross Township, Monroe County.

Troopers responded to the residence to a report of an individual, later identified as Justin Francis Barbera, 28, of that address, destroying the home.

On arrival troopers Martin Bibla and Michael R. Sofranko, opened the rear door of the home at which time Barbera charged at them and slammed the door nearly injuring Sofranko's hands and fingers.

The two troopers then made entry to the home and observed blood on the floor, a broken window, a broken chair, and the residence in disarray.

The two troopers then made contact with Barbera in his bedroom. Barbera yelled, screamed and cursed the troopers. He then clinched his fists and charged toward Sofranko pushing the trooper into a dresser.

Sofranko told Barbera he was under arrest and grabbed the suspect's arm and he began to resist.

Barbera continued to struggle with the two troopers who forcibly took him to the ground. Bible twice used his taser on Barbera but it had no affect on the suspect.

Finally the two troopers used pressure points to gain control of Barbera and handcuff him. After being handcuffed Barbera continued to be uncooperative, refused to stand up, and was belligerent.

Barbera was charged with one felony count of aggravated assault, and misdemeanor counts of simple assault, resisting arrest, and persistent disorderly conduct.

He was placed in the county prison in Snydersville after failing to post $10,000 straight cash bail.

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