Last updated: June 16. 2014 1:20PM - 1327 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — The defendant in a fatal 2008 hit-and-run case has opted for a bench trial instead of having her case heard by a jury.

Megan Panowicz stands accused of leaving the scene after striking 32-year-old Sharon Shaughnessy as she crossed Wyoming Avenue near Pierce Street in Kingston on Aug. 27, 2008.

Jury selection was set to begin today.

Panowicz, 29, of Forty Fort pulled to the side of the road and saw two other vehicles strike Shaughnessy, according to court documents. She drove away and later went to the police station. She has been free on $25,000 unsecured bail since she was charged in 2008.

The state Office of the Attorney General is prosecuting the case because Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis worked with the defendant’s father, attorney Robert Panowicz, before she took office in 2011. He is representing his daughter as part of the defense team.

Centre County Senior Judge Charles Brown is hearing the case.

The trial is expected to start at 9 a.m. tomorrow and continue into Wednesday at least.

The judge said he believed the decision “was a good one” for both sides.

Motions will be heard this afternoon.

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