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Lehighton man charged in crash that injured Lansford officer

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Published December 08. 2017 10:01PM

Lansford police have charged a driver who crashed into a busy intersection in June after losing his brakes descending the steep grade between Summit Hill and Lansford.

They allege that Stewart Allen Counterman Jr., 37, of Lehighton, knew there were problems with his brakes before the crash, but continued to drive his vehicle anyway.

A Lansford Police officer, Shawn Nunemacher, was injured in the wreck.

The crash occurred on June 28 at the intersection of Spring Garden (Route 902) and Patterson Street (Route 209).

Police said that Counterman was driving an older model Oldsmobile down the 10 percent grade hill between Summit Hill and Lansford when he lost the brakes in his vehicle.

As he approached the red light at the intersection of Spring Garden and Patterson, Counterman encountered a line of stopped traffic and veered the vehicle onto the sidewalk on the east side of Route 902.

At the end of the block, he entered into the eastbound lane of Route 209, where he struck a vehicle driven by Nunemacher. His vehicle in turn struck a car that was waiting at the intersection in the westbound lane of Route 209.

Nunemacher was on duty, but driving his private vehicle from the police station to district court for a meeting with prosecutors.

Counterman had two passengers in the vehicle at the time — a woman who told police she had multiple injuries, and a toddler who was not injured. Nunemacher suffered a facial laceration.

Following the crash, a woman told police that Counterman had asked her boyfriend to check the brakes because they were “going to the floor.” She said the request was made about a week before the crash.

Her boyfriend told police that Counterman asked him to look at the brakes, but there was an issue over the cost of the repairs. He said Counterman told him that he was using the parking brake to stop the car at times.

Counterman later came into the station for an interview. He told police he had attempted to fix the brakes before the incident, and they were working well up until and on the day of the crash.

Lansford Police Chief Jack Soberick examined the car and said that there was evidence of a failed master cylinder, which would have caused the brake failure that Counterman described.

Confronted with that information, Counterman allegedly admitted he was aware of the problems.

Police also determined that Counterman did not have insurance for the vehicle, and that the toddler was not strapped in the vehicle correctly.

He faces one felony count of aggravated assault by vehicle, four counts of reckless endangerment, and summary charges for a lack of insurance. Bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.

However, on Dec. 1, Counterman was incarcerated at Carbon County Correctional Facility on $3,000 secured bail, facing charges for a domestic incident.


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