Family Seeking Justice in Homicide Case; Truck Driver Skips Hearing, Whereabouts Unknown
By Rick Hiduk
Family members of Andrea Turner of Wyalusing, who died last year at the age of 20 as the result of a tragic vehicle accident on Route 187 in Asylum Township, thought they were one step closer to seeing the driver of the heavy duty truck that ran head-long into Andrea’s Jeep brought to justice. Their hopes vanished into thin air on Aug. 3 when Johnnie Holder, 38, of Odessa, TX, failed to appear before magisterial district judge Fred Wheaton for a scheduled hearing.
In the wake of his apparent disappearance, Cheryl Golden, the mother of Roland Golden, who was engaged to be married to Andrea, made phone calls and sent numerous emails to ensure that Holden’s trail did not grow cold. Golden explained that she was seeking justice for Andrea and for Gage, the one-year-old son Andrea shared with Roland who was injured in the July 28, 2010 crash.
“I want (Gage) to know that his mother was loved so much that there are people who fought to see that justice was done,” Cheryl stated. “It will be one of the few things that he knows about his mother.”
According to police reports from last year, Andrea was driving her Jeep south on Route 187 with Gage in his infant car seat. About a mile north of the Terry Township line, she rounded a right-hand turn as Holder, traveling at a high speed from the south, first left the northbound lane before bouncing back across the highway into her lane. Holder reportedly tried to veer out of the path of Andrea’s vehicle but hit her head-on. Her Jeep was thrown off the roadway and came to rest with a tree against the passenger side. Andrea was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bradford County Coroner, and Gage was flown to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Family members were frustrated when Holder did not attend the hearing and found little comfort in learning that a bench warrant was issued for his arrest or State Trooper James Dughi’s promise to the family that the first law officer to see Holder would arrest him.
“I don’t have the patience to wait for the law,” Cheryl remarked, as she frantically tried to reach not only local media outlets but the police station in Odessa, TX, and television stations there in the event that he (Holder) had migrated back to his hometown. “I know that, if you involve the public, he might be seen and will be picked up sooner. After all, some people that have warrants don’t get picked up for long periods of time.”
Cheryl, who related that the family continues to grieve over the loss of Andrea, has expressed her frustration at conflicting and incomplete information about Holder since his court no-show, including an incorrect report that Holder had been found in Towanda and that the warrant had been served against him.
According to state police Cpl. Roger Stipcak of the Towanda barracks, Holder is still at large, and the new bench warrant has not been served. Although Holder’s attorney has not indicated exactly where Holder is, police suspect that he is in Pennsylvania. A new preliminary hearing at Judge Wheaton’s office has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
In the meantime, Stipcak indicated that Holder will be arrested on site by any law enforcement officer that comes into contact with him.