City officer involved in fatal crash waives arraignment

A city police officer whose cruiser hit another vehicle and killed the driver waived his Lycoming County court arraignment Monday and officially pleaded not guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the county court, according to District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt.

City Patrolman Jonathan Deprenda, 32, waived arraignment scheduled before Judge Marc F. Lovecchio, moving his case another step closer to a fall trial.

Deprenda’s charges stem from him driving his car in excess of 100 mph on East Third Street about 6:50 p.m. Jan. 12, according to state police.

Motorist James David Robinson, 42, turned into the path of the officer who was driving in the wrong lane to pass other cars to assist with a police pursuit in another part of the city. Robinson’s car was struck by the officer’s, who applied his brakes and was going 88 mph at the time, state police said.

Robinson’s car struck a utility pole and the corner of a building, bursting into flames. Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner, state police said.

Linhardt said Deprenda’s actions constituted reckless disregard for Robinson, the other motorists and pedestrians.

Deprenda’s next scheduled appearance is a lawyer’s conference between his attorney and Linhardt scheduled for July 11. Following that, a pre-trial conference is scheduled for Aug. 12. A trial may occur as soon the fall, Linhardt said.

Deprenda remains suspended with pay from the Williamsport Bureau of Police earning $26.01 per hour, according to city Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman.