BERWICK, Pa. – One person was killed and 17 others injured when a vehicle hit a crowd gathered at a Pennsylvania bar for a fundraiser for victims of a fire that killed 10 people earlier this month; Police say the man was the driver was arrested shortly after in the brutal death of his mother nearby.
The accident happened around 6.15pm on Saturday outside the bar of the Berwick Intoxicology Department, which was due to hold a fundraising day for the victims of the August 5 fire, which killed seven adults and three children in Nescopeck.
Pennsylvania State Police identified the driver as 24-year-old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes of Nescopeck. He was arrested early Sunday morning on two counts of criminal homicide.
Shortly after the crash was reported, troopers were called about a man “physically assaulting” a woman less than a mile from Nescopeck. Soldiers arrived to find that Sura Reyes had been arrested by local police and a woman had died.
Luzerne County Coroner Francis Hacken confirmed Sunday that the victim, Rosa D. Reyes, 56, of Nescopeck — who died of multiple traumatic injuries after being struck by a vehicle and then assaulted with a hammer — was the mother of the suspect Sura Reyes.
Geisinger Medical Center said it received 15 patients after the accident, and five remained in critical condition while three were listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said Sunday morning. Seven patients had been treated in hospitals and discharged.
Private Anthony Petroski III told reporters at a midnight news conference that Sura Reyes was not currently a suspect in the fire, the cause of which is still under investigation.
“It’s a complete tragedy in a community where there’s been a tragedy before,” Petroski said. “We will do our job to the best of our abilities to conduct a thorough investigation not only for the families but also for members of the community. They are already suffering.
Sura Reyes was denied bail and remained in the Columbia County Jail pending a preliminary hearing on August 29. Wilkes-Barre newspapers reported that he only said “Sorry” in response to reporters’ questions as he was taken from Shickshinny police station. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
The first funerals for the victims of the fire took place on Friday, with others scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
The bar called the events “an absolute tragedy” and said on its Facebook page that they would be closed until further notice and would like privacy “while we grieve and try to process the events that have occurred”.
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