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Lower Swatara Twp. Police News: 11/25/2015

Following is a compilation of reports from the
Lower Swatara Twp.
Police Department.
Please be aware all those charged/cited are
presumed innocent
unless proven otherwise
in a court of law.


Disorderly conduct charge

A 14-year old student at Middletown Area High School was charged with disorderly conduct after an incident at the school at 11:52 a.m. on Nov. 4, police report.
The teenager threatened a fellow student at the school, police said. No other details were reported.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:20

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Motorist charged in accident with pedestrian


A Middletown man has been charged after he allegedly struck a pedestrian with his vehicle on South Union Street on Sunday, Nov. 15, police said.

Joseph M. Schmidt, 69, of the 300 block of E. Water St., was driving north on South Union Street at about 5:30 p.m. when he turned right onto Brown Street and struck the victim, Stanton Garber, according to records filed by Middletown police with District Judge David Judy.

Schmidt stopped, called police and tried to aid the victim, police said. Police charged Schmidt with DUI based on field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test that registered a blood alcohol content of .144, according to court records.

Schmidt was also charged with felony aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI. He was arraigned before District Judge Kenneth Lenker in Dauphin County Night Court and released on his own recognizance.

A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, Nov. 25 before Judy.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:18

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Jury convicts boro man of rape

A Middletown man faces up to 159 years in prison after a Dauphin County jury convicted him on Monday, 
Nov. 9 of raping a child and related sexual offenses.

sotophoto11 25 15WEBRichard Omar Soto

Richard Omar Soto, 34, was brought to the attention of authorities around Halloween 2013 by a tip from the victim’s elementary school teacher to the school’s guidance counselor.

The victim, a girl who was then 8 years old, had drawn a penis on a monster as part of a classroom art project. The teacher showed the drawing to the guidance counselor, and it was turned over to Middletown Police Detective Mark Hovan, who was assigned to the case, according to court records filed with District Judge David Judy.

Soto sexually assaulted the child in many different ways over a two-year period when she was ages 6 through 8, according to a press release put out by the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.

“This girl is one of the bravest people I have ever met,” Deputy District Attorney Abby Trovinger, who prosecuted Soto, said of the victim.

The jury also found Soto guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of a minor and indecent exposure.

Soto is to be sentenced on Jan. 19.

The girl’s mother was charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly failing to protect the girl from further abuse by Soto after the girl told her mother of the abuse in mid-2013. The mother, who has pleaded guilty to the charge, testified in support of Soto during his trial.

The DA’s press release called the case a “prime example” of how the county’s Multi-Disciplinary Investigate Team investigates and prosecutes child abuse allegations.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:16

Hits: 18

Man charged in fatal pedestrian accident


A Middletown man was charged in a hit-and-run accident in Palmyra on Oct. 21 in which a pedestrian died after she was struck by a car, authorities said.chadphoto11 25 15WEBChad Ryan Collins

Chad Ryan Collins, 29, of the 100 block of Witherspoon Ave., was arraigned before District Judge Carl R. Garver of Palmyra on Friday, Nov. 20 and charged with a felony count of involvement in an accident involving death or personal injury, a misdemeanor count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and two summary offenses of failing to stop and render aid and failing to notify police of an accident involving injury or death, according to court records.

He was held in Lebanon County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday, Dec. 31 before Garver.
Palmyra police used social media and a video recording from the investigating officer’s patrol car to help track down Collins, according to court records filed with Garver.

The officer searched social media sites to locate the owner of a black Audi sedan similar to the one observed near where the victim, Lisa Thomas, was struck across from her residence in the 400 block of E. Cherry St., according to court records. Thomas was flown by Life Lion helicopter to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where she died on Oct. 30.

The officer found several photographs of a black Audi sedan that “strongly” resembled the one at the scene on the Facebook page for Chad Collins, according to court records. A video of the black sedan, taken by a camera in the officer’s patrol car, was also released to the media.

An acquaintance of Collins contacted Palmyra police on Oct. 22 after seeing the video in the media and identified the car as Collins’ sedan, according to court records. He also identified Collins as the person seen in the video standing next to the car after the accident, according to court records.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, police found Collins’ Audi covered by a tarp and parked in the lot of a church in North Londonderry Twp., Lebanon County, according to court records.

A search found that the entire exterior of the car had been wiped down and that the windshield had been removed and placed in a cardboard box in the trunk, according to court records.

Dried blood was found on the windshield, on the windshield frame, in the front driver’s side wheel well, on the windshield wiper blades and on glass fragments from the wiper cowl area of the car, according to court records.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 15:06

Hits: 25

Lower Swatara cop named DUI “Top Gun’’


A Lower Swatara Twp. police officer who made 75 DUI arrests last year was named one of the Pennsylvania DUI Association’s “Top Gun Award’’ winners.

Officer Patrick Ribec received the award during a ceremony held by the association on Oct. 29 in State College.

Ribec made more than half of the Lower Swatara department’s 137 DUI arrests in 2014. But even more remarkable, said Chief Richard Brant, is that Ribec “successfully prosecuted each of those cases through the magisterial district judge level, which shows he is doing his job in a proper way.’’


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 14:43

Hits: 153