Man waives hearing in Palmerton hit-and-run
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Daniel Engler of Kunkletown is seen as he leaves the office of District Judge William Kissner on Wednesday. Engler waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and will appear before the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas for a hearing on Sept. 4.
A Carbon County man who allegedly hit a 14-year-old male with his vehicle and drove away from the scene has had his case bound over to Carbon County Court.
Daniel Engler, 70, of Kunkletown, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.
Instead, Engler waived his right to a hearing and will appear Sept. 4 for a pretrial status conference in the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas.
Engler faces charges of accidents involving death or personal injury, duty to give information and render aid, recklessly endangering another person, traffic control signals, and right of way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
He remains free on his own recognizance.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Palmerton patrolman Shawn Leadbetter:
At 2:33 p.m. on April 17 Leadbetter was dispatched by the Carbon Communications Center to the area of Fifth Street and Delaware Avenue in Palmerton for a motor vehicle accident in which a vehicle struck a teenager in the crosswalk and failed to stop.
Upon arrival, Leadbetter saw the teen, who was sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, bleeding from the mouth, with his front teeth chipped, and lacerations on his knees and elbows.
The teen immediately told Leadbetter he was hit by a vehicle that was traveling west on Delaware Avenue while he walked through the crosswalk from the north to the south side of Delaware Avenue.
The teen was transported to Palmerton Hospital for an evaluation.
While at the scene, Leadbetter observed there to be no fresh tire marks in the eastbound lane consistent with a vehicle coming to a sudden stop. Leadbetter was approached by two witnesses who said they saw part of the accident.
One witness said he was traveling east on Delaware Avenue and was stopped for a red light at the intersection of Fifth Street and Delaware Avenue when he heard a bang. The witness looked to his left and saw the teen lying on the ground in the middle of the intersection, subsequently being hit by the vehicle.
A second witness said he was walking his dog at the intersection of Fifth Street and Delaware Avenue when he saw the teen walking in the crosswalk and the vehicle failed to stop at the intersection after it struck the teen. The teen slid up onto the hood of the vehicle and onto the windshield before sliding off to the side of the car. That witness said the vehicle driver was an older white male with a beard. The driver initially stopped and yelled to the teen, "I'll be back, I have to take my wife to work," and drove away.
At Palmerton Hospital, Leadbetter spoke with the teen, who told him the vehicle was an older model black vehicle. The teen was unsure of the make and model, but said it was a sedan. ER personnel told Leadbetter said the teen's injuries were moderate, but not life-threatening.
Through the course of the investigation, Leadbetter obtained video surveillance from the area of Fifth Street and Delaware Avenue at the time of the accident.
He identified a vehicle leaving the scene of the accident, traveling west in the 400 block of Delaware Avenue. The vehicle matched the description the teen and witnesses gave.
The vehicle described was a 1996, black in color, Ford Taurus, bearing Pennsylvania registration JGZ-7265. Through the vehicle's registration, Leadbetter was able to identify the owner of the vehicle as Engler.
At 3:45 p.m. April 24, Leadbetter interviewed the teen at the Palmerton Police Department, at which time the teen said that he was walking home from school on April 17 when he approached the intersection of Fifth Street and Delaware Avenue and waited for a red light. When the light turned red, he looked both ways before walking into the intersection. He remembered being struck by the vehicle when he walked into the crosswalk.
Through the video footage, the teen was able to identify the vehicle and the driver as the vehicle that struck him.
On April 29, Engler arrived at the police department for an interview. At 3:23 p.m., borough Police Chief Randy Smith read Engler his Miranda Warnings, at which time he waived his right to counsel, and agreed to speak with police.
Engler admitted to hitting the teen with his car, but said the teen ran out in front of his vehicle at the last second, and that he had a green light at the intersection.
Engler stated to Smith that he initially stopped and told the teen that he had to drop his wife off at work, and that he would be back.