Panowicz to face felony charge in hit-and-run case

Times Leader staff

January 18, 2013

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a woman who challenged a judge's ruling that upgraded charges in a fatal hit-and-run accident from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The ruling means Megan Panowicz of Forty Fort faces up to one year in prison, as opposed to a maximum of 90 days, should she be convicted of the crime.

Panowicz was charged in connection with the Aug. 27, 2008, death of Sharon Shaughnessy, who was killed on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston when she was struck by three vehicles, one of which allegedly was driven by Panowicz.

Panowicz left the scene before police arrived. She turned herself in the next day and was charged with accidents involving death or personal injury.

Luzerne County prosecutors had appealed a judge's ruling that downgraded the offense to a misdemeanor. The state Superior Court later ruled the judge erred in his ruling and reinstated the felony grading.

Panowicz's attorney, Basil Russin, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on July 26. The court, in a one-sentence order issued Thursday, denied the request to hear the case, meaning the Superior Court ruling stands.