Police, April 21

Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.
·9 min read

Apr. 21—State police incident reports

State police at Frackville reported the following:

—Josue Martinez, 20, Tamaqua, was a passenger in a Dodge stopped for a traffic violation at 521 Altamont Blvd., West Mahanoy Twp., on April 6 at 1 p.m. He had a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia and faces charges.

—Sarah A. Bensinger, 29, New Ringgold, was traveling north on Route 1011 (Brockton Mountain Drive) in Ryan Twp. on March 29 at 10:17 p.m. when the Dodge Intrepid she was operating went off the road, hitting a utility pole. The car was towed but Bensinger wasn't injured.

—A man took a 67-year-old Barnesville woman's wallet from her purse April 10 around 9 a.m. while she was shopping inside Walmart, Hometown. The man, who was black with an athletic build and wearing black clothing with a black and white baseball hat, attempted to buy Visa gift cards worth about $1,600, $1,000 and $820. The first two attempts were blocked by bank fraud protection but the third went through. The man fled the store on Route 309 north in a while or silver newer style sport utility vehicle. Anyone with information can call 570-874-5300.

—Charges are pending against Robert Christman, 31, Tamaqua, after troopers found drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop on a 2015 Chevrolet in the 200 block of Claremont Avenue, Rush Twp., on April 3 at 8:14 a.m.

—A 16-year-old Tamaqua boy was found with a vape pen and cartridges while at Schuylkill Technology Center, north campus. The items tested positive for THC oil. A juvenile petition will be filed at Schuylkill County Juvenile Probation.

—An unidentified person was driving a 2008 Pontiac G8 north on State Road in Rush Twp. after turning from Pine Creek Road on April 14 at 8:40 p.m. The driver was unfamiliar with the road and drove onto railroad tracks where they got stuck. The vehicle was removed from the tracks by a tow truck.

—Miles Nolen, 57, Wilkes-Barre, was north on Interstate 81 in Ryan Twp. in the left lane, attempting to pass another vehicle April 17 around 9 p.m., when he claimed the other vehicle drifted into his lane. He swerved to avoid hitting the vehicle but also lost control of the Subaru Forester he was driving and went off the left berm, traveling up an embankment and hitting a patch of trees in the median. He reported injuries but refused EMS at the scene. The vehicle was towed.

—Stephen Orsulak, 52, Barnesville, was south on Interstate 81 at mile marker 126.2 in Ryan Twp. when drove over an icy bridge, losing control of the International Harvester he was driving between 35 and 40 mph. The driver was unable to gain control of the vehicle and it rotated about 180 degrees, hitting the guide rail on the left side. Orsulak, who was operating a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation vehicle and attempting to treat the road, wasn't injured. Weather was a prime factor in the crash. Ryan Twp. firefighters assisted.

State police at Hazleton reported the following:

—Arianni Santana Medina, 26, West Hazleton, drove a Chevrolet Cruze into the intersection of North Church and West 23rd streets, Hazle Twp., on April 14 at 2:55 p.m., hitting a Chevrolet Silverado driven south on Route 309 (North Church Street) by Jennifer A. King, 40, White Haven. Santana Medina failed to clear the road when entering the intersection. After impact, the Silverado hit a Kia Soul operated by Jhoan M. Robles Abreu, 18, Hazleton, who was in the left turn lane on North Church Street. No injuries were reported.

Hazle Twp. Fire and Rescue assisted.

—Troopers responded to the 500 block of Yanac Street, Hazle Twp., for a report of a woman having trouble with an ex-boyfriend. A 23-year-old Hazle Twp., woman told police the 29-year-old Hazleton man hit her in the face. His name wasn't released by police but he was cited for harassment.

—A garage owned by a 60-year-old Wapwallopen man was broken into. The door lock was broken off and various items were stolen, including a $65 transmission cooler kit, a $200 refrigerator and a $25 Master lock. Anyone with information can call troopers at 570-459-3890.

—A gray parking meter was found dumped in the woods off Saint Anthonys Drive in Foster Twp., on April 19. Anyone with information is asked to call troopers at 570-459-3890.

SUGARLOAF TWP.

Couple charged in 2020 crash

A man and woman living in Freeland were charged by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General after false information about a January 2020 crash was reported to an insurance company, court papers state.

James J. Diehl, 31, and Brittany A. Neidlinger, 30, each face felonies for false or fraudulent insurance claim, insurance fraud and two counts theft by deception. The charges were filed against them March 30 and they were released on $25,000 unsecured bail each that day by Magisterial District Judge James Dixon, Hazle Twp.

Agents said they falsely reported a crash involving a deer happened Jan. 4, 2020, when it actually happened the following day. The policy on the vehicle lapsed in November 2019 but was reinstated Jan. 5, 2020, at 2:30 p.m., court papers state. When agents interviewed Neidlinger and Diehl they admitted to reporting false information to Geico Choice Insurance Co. regarding the date, court papers state.

WHITE HAVEN

Man arrested after several reports

White Haven police arrested a man after fielding several calls involving the same suspicious vehicle in Foster Twp. on March 28, court papers state.

Ralph J. Soriano, 51, White Haven, faces driving under the influence of a controlled substance, driving with a suspended or revoked license, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and a traffic offense. His bail was set at $5,000 April 3 by Magisterial District Judge James Haggerty, Kingston.

According to arrest papers:

The driver of a black Jeep was spotted dancing in the middle of the road near 1018 Sandy Valley Road before walking into the woods and then driving away around 4:24 p.m. The same vehicle was at a stop sign for 15 minutes at South Sheaman Road and Sandy Valley Road with a bulb hanging out of a headlight. Police checked the area but the vehicle was gone.

Using a license plate number, they tracked down the vehicle owner to 12 Lake Side Road and went there. Police found no one home but the garage door open and the inside of the house damaged. While at the house, an officer saw the Jeep pulling up to the property and found Soriano at the driver's seat. He appeared under the influence and struggled with police as they searched him prior to him being driven to a hospital. Police obtained a search warrant for his urine test, finding it was positive for amphetamine.

DENNISON TWP.

Michigan man found with drugs

A Michigan man was driving on Interstate 80 with marijuana in his vehicle April 6, court papers say.

Michael A. Newman, 38, White Lake, faces manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and a summary traffic violation.

His bail was set at $50,000 April 7 by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr.

The Pennsylvania state police SHIELD Unit stopped him for following another vehicle too close while eastbound in a Chevrolet Impala at 7:25 p.m., arrest papers state.

Newman stopped at mile marker 266 in Dennison Twp. and granted police permission to search the vehicle, which had 24 vacuum sealed bags of marijuana in the trunk, troopers wrote.

LANSFORD

Woman reported to have drugs

Lansford police charged a woman after finding drugs in her makeup bag, court papers say.

Gemile B. Mehmeti, 33, Lansford, faces two counts manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver; five counts possession of a controlled substance; and one count use or possession of drug paraphernalia by Lansford police. Bail was set at 10% of $40,000 April 9 by Magisterial District Judge Casimir Kosciolek, Lansford.

Someone reported a woman using drugs inside a vehicle in the area of East Water and Walnut streets on April 3 and when police arrived they found Mehmeti in the vehicle.

She refused to get out of the vehicle when asked, so with assistance from Summit Hill police, she was removed, arrest papers state. Police said they found suspected meth, heroin and fentanyl and an assortment of blue and orange pills along with mushrooms and $323 in her bag.

FREELAND

Man with drugs a burglary suspect

A Drifton man suspected of a Freeland burglary was found with drugs, court papers state.

Eric M. Peltz, 24, faces burglary criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property by Freeland police who filed the case against him Jan. 8. His bail was set at $25,000 March 13 by Magisterial District Judge Brian Tupper, Trucksville.

He was also charged in a second case by Freeland officers for manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts possession of a controlled substance and four summary traffic violations. For that case, Tupper set bail at $150,000.

Arrest papers state Peltz admitted to burglarizing a home on Maple Street in December when police conducted a traffic stop on his black Chevrolet Monte Carlo on Dec. 29.

Inside that vehicle police said they found items stolen from the home, along with drugs to include more than 300 packets of heroin/fentanyl, prescription pills and paraphernalia.

Sugarloaf Twp. man charged

A Sugarloaf Twp. man faces charges after a group of six people showed up at a Freeland home April 14.

Seth R. Gerenza, 21, faces conspiracy for burglary, terroristic threats, simple assault and criminal mischief by Freeland police. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail April 15.

According to arrest papers:

Six males went to the rear of 406 Centre St., around 5 p.m. One of the two adults inside the home told them to leave or police would be called. Instead of leaving one of them kicked the rear door, eventually breaking it open while another brandished a black firearm. Another person used a baseball bat to smash out two windows.

They left but returned to the area, and when they saw police in the area of Centre and Luzerne streets, split up and ran, except for Gerenza, who admitted to being at the home.