Police mum on fatal crash

City and state police are expected to release information, possibly today, on a fatal collision on East Third Street Sunday night that claimed the life of James David Robinson, 42, and involved a city police officer who they declined to identify Monday.

The crash, under investigation by state police, involved an officer who was traveling east in a marked police cruiser about 6:52 p.m. He was en route to a pursuit of an individual by other officers in another part of the city. Robinson also reportedly was traveling east, police said.

When asked Monday morning, city police Chief Gregory A. Foresman declined to release the officer’s identity but said the department will do so in days to come.

Foresman also would not speak about whether Robinson’s vehicle was struck in the side or nudged into the utility pole from behind and declined to say whether Robinson was stopped in the street.

“We’re not dodging any questions,” he said, referring all questions to the state police.

Trooper Mike Knight, a community relations officer with the state police, confirmed the state police are in charge of the investigation but getting information from the city police. Knight also declined to release the officer’s identity or how the crash occurred.

“We won’t release his name, but the city can if they wish to,” Knight said.

Knight said it would require the conclusion of the reconstruction before the information would be released. Troopers with experience in crash reconstruction are working the case.

“It is not uncommon for the city police to reach out to the state police in a fatal crash,” Foresman said. “We’re limited to the number of officers trained in accident reconstruction.”

The police cruiser, a newer model Ford Taurus, had a camera in it and video footage is being evaluated, Foresman said. The car remains in the possession of the state police, Foresman said.

The officer was treated at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.

Foresman said the department will offer counseling for the officer.

He said Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. and state police spoke with Robinson’s next of kin.

Foresman confirmed that the proper procedure for any motorist who sees the flashing light of an emergency vehicle behind them is to try to pull over to the right side of the roadway, if possible.