NANTICOKE — Lorenzo Burgos said he accelerated his vehicle intending to come to a quick stop to intimidate the man who yelled at him for speeding on Nottingham Street in Plymouth.
Instead, state police at Wyoming and Plymouth police allege, Burgos, 23, of Third Street, Plymouth, struck Fred John Kleman Jr. throwing him into a parked vehicle, causing fatal head injuries.
Burgos appeared Monday for his preliminary hearing before District Judge Donald Whittaker, who forwarded an open count of criminal homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving to Luzerne County Court.
Authorities allege Burgos struck Kleman on Aug. 14 in retaliation after Kleman minutes earlier had yelled at Burgos to slow down. Kleman was rushed to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, where he died.
County Coroner Bill Lisman testified that an autopsy showed Kleman died from multiple traumatic injuries. His death was ruled a homicide.
Burgos was initially charged on Aug. 15 with vehicular homicide, but assistant district attorneys Alexis Falvello and Brian Coleman filed the more serious criminal homicide charge on Nov. 15, when an inspection of Burgos’ vehicle showed it had operable brakes. The only defect on Burgos’ vehicle were two bald front tires.
Ronald Miller III testified he was talking to Kleman in front of his house when Burgos, driving a Toyota Celica, drove past at a high rate of speed.
“Fred said ‘Slow the (expletive) down. This isn’t a race track,’” Miller said. Miller said Burgos stopped and made a hand gesture toward Kleman.
About five minutes later, Miller said, Burgos returned and swerved his car. “When he made contact, Fred hit the windshield and he launched Fred into my mom’s (parked) car,” Miller said.
Miller said Burgos got out holding a metal object saying, “Where the (expletive) is he; I’m going to kill him.”
Trooper Charles Prula said Burgos, when questioned on Aug. 14, could not remember if he hit the accelerator pedal or clutch when he swerved the Toyota toward Kleman.
Burgos remains jailed at the county prison without bail.