OldArchive / District Justices

Tim Clark, Towanda


Austin Roof, 23, Towanda, faces charges for aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault, and harassment after a July 19 incident, during which he allegedly attempted to stab and slash another man—apparently a cousin of his—with a switchblade knife and threatened the victim with further harm. According to the police report, the victim initially phoned the police at about 7:30 p.m. and asked specifically to speak with two officers who were not on duty. “I need you guys up here right now. My cousin is going nuts; he just punched me in the face and he’s trying to get a baseball bat,” the victim reportedly told the patrolman, who tried to get an address but was told to “forget it” before the victim hung up. Within five minutes, a female caller informed police that there was a loud fight occurring near the corner of Elizabeth and Charles Streets. The officer responded in time to find the victim leaving the scene. Upon questioning, the victim was uncooperative, but, as the situation now involved a complaint from a neighbor, the patrolman detained the victim in handcuffs until he could sort things out. The officer interviewed Roof and his father, both of who denied the allegations made against the younger man. The victim was also not cooperating, so the patrolman told both parties to “go someplace else and cool off.” By the time he had returned to the police station, however, the victim had called to let him know that he did not pursue charges on site because he was “scared for his life.” The victim related that he stays with his uncle on occasion to help him out because, in his opinion, the defendant does not assist his father. The father related to police that his son had had a bad day at work and initiated an argument with the victim when he arrived home to find the victim on the computer. Roof faced a July 27 preliminary hearing.

Ricky Lee Johnson, 44, Towanda, faces charges for simple assault and harassment by physical contact for reportedly punching his father in the face with a closed fist at about 5:40 p.m. on July 19 at their Second Street home. The reporting officer noted that the senior Johnson was emotionally distraught from the incident and very hesitant to press charges. A preliminary hearing was set for July 27.

Samantha Brittany Walters, 18, Towanda, faces charges for simple assault and harassment for her participation in a domestic dispute at about 12:45 p.m. on July 10 at her Chestnut Street home in Towanda. Walters allegedly threw coins at her father, who was questioning her reasons for being in his bedroom, and a knife at her brother before leaving the scene in a vehicle with a friend. A week later, charges were filed against her for forgery, criminal attempt, and receiving stolen property. Her father contacted police to report that four checks had been stolen from his checkbook and that he was already aware of two of the checks being used by his daughter. Police interviewed an employee at Tops Market, who confirmed that Walters and the same friend she was with the previous week had attempted to make a $267 purchase with the checks but were denied when they would not produce identification. When he confronted his daughter about the missing checks, Walters blamed her friend, against whom no charges have yet been reported. Walters faces an Aug. 19 preliminary hearing for the aforementioned charges and a July 29 hearing for the second set of charges.

Steven Bussiere, 44, Towanda, faces charges for public drunkenness and simple assault after he reportedly punched a police officer in the face and attempted several times to punch a second officer in the groin after they found him passed out in an alley next to the First United Methodist Church in Towanda at about 9:15 p.m. on July 18. Both officers were responding separately to a call that there was a “person down” in the area of Jefferson Street. When they could not find anybody at the scene, the patrolmen split up to search the area and found Bussiere next to the church. EMS services had also been dispatched to the scene and were summoned to the alley by the police. In the meantime, Bussiere allegedly woke up and immediately punched the patrolman, who, in turn, punched him back. It took both officers to get handcuffs on the defendant, who was treated at the scene for minor cuts and scrapes before being transported to the Towanda police station. Bussiere’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 27.

Debbie Lynne Johnson, 52, Towanda, faces charges for retail theft after she reportedly put several beef steaks into her shopping cart that had already been paid for by someone who had been ahead of her in the checkout line at Hurley’s Market in North Towanda on May 15. Johnson allegedly did not make the location of the steaks known to the purchaser when he came back into the store and insisted to a store manager who followed her to the parking lot that the cashier had already checked her bags, and she did not have the steaks. Johnson reportedly complained that the store manager had accused her of theft, and she found out the next day that she did have the steaks but was supposedly too embarrassed to return them to Hurley’s. Store surveillance video apparently corroborated the original account of the situation by store employees, and Johnson was found to have four prior arrests for retail theft on her record. She now faces an Aug. 24 preliminary hearing.

Daniel Harold Rockwell, 46, Towanda, faces charges for high rate DUI after he was observed driving erratically in Towanda Borough and eventually pulled over on Main Street near State Street at about 6:25 p.m. on June 22. Rockwell was reportedly very uncooperative with the patrolman who pulled him over, refusing to acknowledge his presence or the officer’s request to shut off the Jeep’s engine. After the vehicle was finally shut off, the officer opened the driver’s door and asked Rockwell to step out. According to the patrolman, Rockwell is a large man, and it was determined that he had consumed too much alcohol to safely perform field sobriety tests. The defendant also could not produce identification and referred to himself simply as Harold. He was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where he eventually refused blood testing after questioning the “chemical tests warning” that the officer tried to read to him several times. He instead insisted that he was “not a criminal” and suggested that the police focus more on the “heroin addicts in Towanda.”

Ji Nathaniel Hampton, 25, Towanda, faces charges of DUI, running a stop sign, and other traffic violations for an incident that occurred at about 1:25 a.m. on July 16, when he was pulled over on Main Street after he swerved and hit a parked car on Lombard Street. Hampton allegedly acted as if he did not know why he was being stopped, and the odor of alcohol was noticed as the defendant got out of his vehicle. Hampton initially denied drinking and said that he had just left a job site. He failed field sobriety tests and was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where he refused a blood test, even after being informed that his non-cooperation would result in a high rate DUI charge.

Linda VanDevelde, 49, Wyalusing RR4, faces charges for high rate DUI and related traffic offenses after she hit a parked car in the area of the Weigh Station at Washington Street and the Merrill Parkway in Towanda on July 14. The accident had been reported to police by a female caller. By the time the officers arrived at the scene, VanDevelde and the man whose car she had hit were pulling away together. The patrolmen stopped both vehicles and interviewed both drivers. The man whose vehicle was hit indicated to police that the two were meeting in person for the first time after meeting on the internet. VanDevelde denied hitting the man’s car at first and allegedly later said that it was “no big deal.” After failing field sobriety tests, she was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where a blood test indicated a BAC of .269. A preliminary hearing for the three aforementioned DUI defendants has been set for Aug. 17.

Peggy Sue Savage, 46, New Albany, faces charges for high rate of DUI after being pulled over by police at about 10:15 p.m. on May 8 on Brocktown Road in Monroe Township. After failing field sobriety tests, Savage was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where a blood test revealed a BAC of .259.

Dusty Lane Brimberry, 41, Magnolia, TX, faces charges of DUI from a traffic stop initiated by police at about 12:50 a.m. on May 10 on Route 6, near Saco Road, in North Towanda Township. After failing field sobriety tests, Brimberry was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital, where he reportedly refused a blood test. It was later found that he had a prior DUI arrest on his record.

Christopher Alan Fritz, 27, Monroeton, faces charges for high rate DUI and related driving offenses after he allegedly crashed his truck into another truck along Route 220 in Towanda Township. There was significant damage to both vehicles. Fritz reportedly denied having consumed alcohol but was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital for a blood test after failing field sobriety tests. His BAC was reported at .20, and he was found to have prior DUI arrests on his record.

Meghan Jean MacMillan, 22, Waverly, NY, faces charges for DUI and a related driving offense after being pulled over by police on Route 220 at South Branch Road in Monroe Township at about 11 p.m. on June 9. MacMillan reportedly failed field sobriety tests and consented to a blood test at Towanda Memorial Hospital, which indicated a BAC of .125. A preliminary hearing for the four aforementioned DUI defendants has been set for Aug. 24.

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