WILKES-BARRE – A Jenkins Township man pleaded guilty Friday to causing a crash that killed two people in September in Pittston Township.
Walter Raven, 60, of Industrial Drive, pleaded guilty to two counts of accidents involving death, tampering with evidence, driving with a suspended license, careless driving causing death and an unrelated drug offense.
“I’m sorry,” Raven said while leaving the courthouse after entering the guilty plea when asked if he had anything to say.
County detectives and Pittston Township police said Raven drove a Buick into the path of a motorcycle operated by Donnie Pizano, 38, on state Route 315 on Sept. 2.
Pizano and a passenger on the motorcycle, Robin Walsh, 39, both of Plains Township, were killed in the crash.
Jenkins Township police spotted Raven and another man using a pressure washer to clean the Buick several hours after the deadly crash, according to the criminal complaint.
Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips said Raven faces a mandatory minimum of one year in prison on each of the two counts of accidents involving death.
“The commonwealth will be seeking the mandatory sentence,” Phillips said.
Raven will be sentenced on June 10, County Judge Michael Vough said. Raven will also be required to pay $6,000 in restitution to Pizano’s family and almost $5,000 to Walsh’s family, as well as fines and other restitution costs.
Family members did not offer comment after Raven’s plea. They have been present at nearly all of Raven’s hearings, as have Walsh’s co-workers from the Luzerne County Clerk of Court’s Office.
Raven was originally scheduled for a motions hearing Friday morning, after his attorney had made several requests in the case, including that charges against Raven should be dismissed.
Vough asked Raven’s attorney, John Pike, if the plea agreement was in his client’s best interest – as a trial had been scheduled to begin May 14.
“Yes, it is,” Pike said.
Raven also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of delivery of morphine stemming from a February 2011 incident. Police say Raven allegedly sold morphine tablets to another person in Exeter.
Raven’s co-defendant in the case, Daniel Antonini, pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with evidence in February in relation to helping Raven wash his vehicle.
Antonini, 46, of Gilligan Street, Wilkes-Barre, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge David Lupas on May 20.