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Chase tragedy

January 20, 2014

Protect and serve the public doesn't mean an officer can violate every vehicle code and chase policy....

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Feb-02-14 10:40 PM

It fascinates me to try and comprehend the logic involved. Are you serious?? You have one cop chasing a vehicle through the city (reason unknown as to why this chase even started)but luckily for the PD he had ****** (which was not known initially). Meanwhile, Deprenda is traveling close to 100 mph. and kills an innocent victim and now, Capricorn1, you think this criminal should be held responsible for this tragedy? Thinking like that is frightening. Anyone else you want to blame?

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Jan-24-14 4:07 AM

Gr8fulFish-"If any commercial driver's license holder committed the same acts as Officer DePrenda, they would be behind bars..."

True, but nothing in the Vehicle Code permits a commercial driver to exceed the speed limits and other traffic laws that the law provides for the driver of an emergency vehicle.

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Jan-24-14 4:02 AM

Gr8fulFish, you keep omitting the fact that Mr Robinson turned into the path of the passing cruiser. While I agree that 88 mph seems excessive, are you omitting that fact to skew the argument to your way of thinking?

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Jan-23-14 10:16 AM

{continued} would be behind bars ... not sitting at home collecting a paycheck that is ultimately paid for by the citizens he was hired to protect and serve.

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Jan-23-14 10:15 AM

BillTriumph: The toxicology results on the deceased are not important ... Remember? He is dead! However, the results of tests on Officer DePrenda are very important as HE WAS THE ONE TRAVLEING 88 mph in 35 mph zone & HE WAS THE ONE that struck an innocent man's vehicle and killed him! If any CDL driver is involved in an accident(fatality or not) they are required to immediately take a urinaysis and/or blood test ... whether they were in their personal vehicle or their commercial vehicle. I am curious as to whether Officer DePrenda was even tested? If he was, those results do not take weeks and weeks to get back ... they are instantaneous! Excuse me for expecting that someone who is currently being paid by the taxpayer's while he is on "administrative paid leave" (i.e. vacation) be tested to see if they could have been under the influence when they caused someone's death. If any commercial driver's license holder committed the same acts as Officer DePrenda, they w

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Jan-22-14 11:26 AM

The Williamsport Bureau of Police respects the Pennsylvania State Police' professionalism and efforts in their continuing investigation of the tragic accident involving one of our police vehicles. Williamsport Police Officer Jonathan Deprenda was involved in an on-duty traffic accident while responding to back-up a rookie Williamsport officer’s radio transmission of having a suspect at gun point. That crash claimed the life of James David Robinson, 42 of Williamsport.

The investigation of any traffic fatality is a lengthy and intricate process involving many, many hours of evidence gathering, measurements, photographs, interviews, follow-ups, tests and paperwork, etc. The fact that this accident involves a law enforcement officer and vehicle adds even more time to the process.

We understand that the victim's family, friends and our community is looking for information and answers. We ask that everyone respect the process being undertaken by Pennsylvania State Police.

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Jan-21-14 10:09 PM

Gr8fulFish - "Have the police released the results of drug/alcohol tests that would have/should have been conducted IMMEDIATELY after the officer's involvement in this accident?" Boy ya know I don't that they did. They are holding onto the toxicology on the deceased also. Why don't you get busy and call around to the SHS lab and Coroners office demanding they release that to your custody IMMEDIATELY?

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Jan-21-14 4:05 PM

Have the police released the results of drug/alcohol tests that would have/should have been conducted IMMEDIATELY after the officer's involvement in this accident?

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Jan-21-14 1:22 PM

THIS WAS NOT DURING A CHASE!!! This officer was resonding to a call according to the PoPo stament of a rookie officer holding a chase suspect at gunpoint. Let us not forget that this is the same officer that was also involved in a chase senerio in june where he shot several shots at the suspect vehicle. Maybe he had to get to that scene to give the rookie officer pointers on firing his gun. REALLY!! No call for his actions and speed on that street at that particular time comsidering that there were 2 other cars one marked and one unmarked involved already! Adrenaline junkie that didn't want to be left out of the action!

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Jan-21-14 6:35 AM

I don't think that Mr. Robinson ever saw the police car coming. From my own experiences of driving on E 3rd St, my main concern is dodging the pot holes, manhole covers and washboard road surfaces to try to minimize damage to me and my car. In fact, unless I have a really compelling reason to be on E 3rd I avoid it like the plague. We may never find out what exactly happened, just as we'll probably never find out if the officer followed protocol since that protocol is, conveniently, not shared with the public. What we do know is that this officer's involvement in the chase and the victim's tragic death had no bearing on the outcome of the original case and apprehension of the suspects, which makes it especially tragic. These high speed chases are getting out of hand and it was just a matter of time before an innocent was killed. The city is going to need to have very deep pockets on this one.

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Jan-21-14 3:29 AM

Yoxtheimer-"Ok the some of you that feel this officer was NOT at fault"

I don't know anyone here who is claiming the officer is not at fault. I know a lot of us here who are saying wait until the PSP investigation is over and the evidence is presented. You, and others, have already convicted the officer on supposition.

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Jan-21-14 3:24 AM

These soliloquies of baseless accusation and uninformed indignation leave me breathless.

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Jan-20-14 11:12 PM

John Zook really? Do you really think the man who died was at fault here? Do yourself a favor and do some research regarding high speed pursuits (however, this officer was not even chasing anyone). The reason it is so easy in Williamsport to commit a crime is because ignorance is rampant here! It is not okay to have innocent people die, for any reason, involving high speed pursuits. If a policy exists, it needs to be reviewed. I am of the opinion that this police department has failed its duty, repeatedly, to both train and supervise! Where was the communication, with a supervisor, with regard to this incident? Even if lights and sirens were activated, which we don't know, does not excuse lack of leadership or negligent disregard for life and property! There needs to be clearly defined department guidelines to reduce risks and it does not appear this administration, including the mayor, are even aware of the need for continued education. Imagine that, Phd, you say???

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Jan-20-14 10:57 PM

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Jan-20-14 7:45 PM

The accident was a tragedy. Accidents happen everyday why does someone have to be at fault usually blame is shared. Who are we to cast stones?

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Jan-20-14 4:15 PM

I can't believe all this hatred towards police officers. What would you haters say if they dropped the pursuit and the guy sped away and killed someone himself?

I think I know the answer to that. It's the glory of the "holier than thou" attitude.

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Jan-20-14 3:45 PM

eriklatranyi-"Yoxtheimer: We get hate the police."

Yeah, and it seems he's not the only one looking hard to crucify the officer involved.

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Jan-20-14 3:10 PM

(Continued from last post…)

I've gone through several pursuit policies and believe me, there is no magic bullet in them that will let criminals get away: It's not like they will say "Marty, if we can get the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, we can make our escape!"

In fact, if a criminal is going to do any research into high speed escapes, they will see that their odds of getting away are poor. If they run there is an 80% chance that they will be caught and a very good chance that it will end in a collision.

Also, if they flee, the cops already have their plate and they *will* be caught later.

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Jan-20-14 3:10 PM

No rule or policy is worth following if it takes an innocent persons life. The man is dead, thats finality. To heck with the policy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this man.

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Jan-20-14 3:07 PM


We get hate the police.

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Jan-20-14 3:04 PM

As of now, only the State Police pursuit policy has been released, but this was not private to begin with.

When we have the Williamsport Police pursuit policy, we will be better informed as to what rules may have been in play when this tragedy occurred.

For example, there may be a limit on how many units can respond at speed, without a supervisor's say-so. If that is the case, and the officer broke the policy, he is to blame for at least part of it.

If his commander ordered him to respond at speed, much of the blame would shift to him or her, away from the officer.

Releasing the policy isn't just about letting the taxpayers know what the rules are, it's about giving a fair chance for Boomer's family to seek justice.

As citizens, we may decide to demand changes to the pursuit policy, as well, to put an end to high speed chases through residential areas with too many police cars.

As it is now, we don't know and can't make informed decisions.

(Continued… )

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Jan-20-14 1:54 PM

"I would like to think that I could be proven wrong on this, but it always works that way" - enigma

Your warped sense of justice intrigues me enigma. You make your arbitrary case for manslaughter charges by invoking the "prove a negative" methodology ...the cop is guilty until someone proves (to you) he's not.

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Jan-20-14 12:21 PM

Having said all of that (in my previous statement) I don't believe that the way a cop conducts themselves is necessarily a reflection on who they are as people.. I believe that some of these cops let the 'power' go to their head.

I am all for waiting for all of the facts before deeming this police officer guilty of anything.

The culture surrounding the way the police officers conduct themselves however, I feel needs some serious improvement.

In the meantime my thoughts and prayers go out to both the family of the deceased civilian and the police officer and his family. Both families I'm sure are going through a very difficult time, in completely different ways but never the less difficult.

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Jan-20-14 12:19 PM

Yoxtheimer: 'I mention the Constitution and Obama invariably comes up.'

If the shoe fits.

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Jan-20-14 12:16 PM

If indeed the police officer did violate procedures and it resulted in the death of a civilian, no matter how you slice it, that's vehicular manslaughter and he deserved to pay the price for that mistake.

Cops think badges make them above the law and give them the right to treat people however they want.

I've met very few police officers that weren't total d-bags. In South Williamsport it seems to be about who you know. In Williamsport, it doesn't matter, they have this philosophy that you're guilty until proven innocent.

It's time to give these cops a reality check. Their #1 priority should be public safety not protecting their brothers in blue from obeying the same laws we "civilians" are required to. The only difference between us and them is a job title.

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