OldArchive / District Justices

Fred Wheaton, Wysox


Chad Harold Belcher, 18, Stevensville RR 1, faces charges for criminal trespass, theft, and receiving stolen property. Between 8 a.m. on May 15 and 3 p.m. on May 16, Belcher allegedly circumvented numerous obstacles to gain access to a clearly marked private property in Herrick Township, from which he reportedly removed a brown Yamaha motorcycle and various scrap metal items without permission of the owners. Belcher was the passenger in a car driven by Damon Anthony Grippo stopped for speeding at about 1:30 p.m. on May 16 on Leisure Lake Road. The reporting officer noted that both men appeared uncommonly nervous and their stories were not matching up, including Grippo’s remark that the two were in a hurry to get to work, as the men did not work together. Upon investigation, police found that the two men had already sold the scrap at a local salvage yard, where the motorcycle had also been left behind. The investigation continues, and Grippo’s charges were not filed with those of Belcher, who faced a June 1 preliminary hearing.

Thomas Anthony Zaleski, Towanda RR 5, faces numerous charges including aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and fleeing from a police officer stemming from events that happened on May 22, shortly after midnight. Police were called to the Dandy Mini Mart on Route 6 in Wysox Township to investigate the report of one vehicle ramming another and of the apparent aggressor swinging a baseball bat. The reporting officer alleges that Zaleski’s actions were an apparent retaliation against an ex-girlfriend who was in the company of a new boyfriend. Zaleski apparently rammed their vehicle several times, smashed the passenger side window of her vehicle and shouted obscenities and threatening remarks at the victim. A call went out to locate Zalenski’s vehicle, and he was subsequently seen on the Merrill Parkway in Towanda. Police initiated a traffic stop and had Zaleski exit his vehicle before he jumped back into it, started it up and sped away. The defendant reportedly traveled at speeds in excess of 100 mph, drove the wrong way on one-way lanes, turned off his headlights to avoid detection, and eventually jumped out of his car and hitched a ride with a motorist, whom he told that he needed help in fleeing police. The motorist drove to the police department to tell them of Zaleski’s approximate location and cooperated with police by picking up Zaleski again after he had changed his clothing. When the cooperative motorist passed the police, who were in waiting, a traffic stop was conducted, and Zaleski was taken into custody. His preliminary hearing was set for June 1. 

Jennifer Lynn Kithcart, 32, Sayre, faces charges of simple assault and harassment for an incident that occurred in Hart’s Trailer Park in Rome at 11:30 p.m. on April 23. Police allege that Kitchart shoved, kicked, and struck a female victim in her face, nose and forehead multiple times, resulting in swelling and bleeding. The victim had allegedly stopped at Kitchart’s trailer after work to pick up her children and required medical attention after the altercation. A preliminary hearing has been set for July 13.

Drake Grant Smith, 21, Towanda, faces charges for high rate DUI and multiple traffic offenses for an arrest made on Feb. 2 on Route 6 near Jackson Trailer Court in Wysox Township. Police allege that Smith was driving with a suspended driver’s license as a condition of his acceptance in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for an early DUI arrest, traveling at unsafe speeds, not wearing a seat belt, and leaving his intended lane of traffic several times. Police suspended field sobriety tests due to icy parking lot conditions and Smith’s apparent physical impairment from the alcohol. He was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where he consented to a blood test that yielded a BAC of .263.

Brian Matthew Swigart, Wyalusing RR 3, faces DUI charges and related traffic offenses from a Feb. 15 arrest just after midnight on Route 6 in Wysox Township. Police initiated a traffic stop after reportedly witnessing Swigart cross the double yellow and white fog lines between Routes 187 and 1012 several times. Swigart consented to but failed standard field sobriety tests and was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where a blood test revealed a BAC of .98. 

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