JENKINS TWP. — The son of Sunday's hit-and-run victim said he holds no animosity toward the driver of the vehicle who fatally injured his mother shortly after she attended church, but he wants that person to come forward to clear his or her conscience.
Mark Darsky, 36, son of 65-year-old Jean Darsky, who was struck late Sunday afternoon in front of her home at 302 Westminster Road home, said Monday that if the driver knew what kind of a person his mother was, he or she would turn themselves in immediately.
“My mom was the best person you could ever meet,” Darsky said while standing in the backyard of the home he shared with his mother. “Right now, I'm just remembering all the great times I had with her. I cherish our time together. ”
Jenkins Township police and the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office are investigating the fatality, which occurred around 3:30 p.m.
Acting Coroner William Lisman said Dr. Gary Ross, forensic pathologist from Lackawanna County, completed an autopsy Monday afternoon and ruled the manner of death as homicide. The autopsy revealed the cause of death was due to multiple traumatic injuries from being struck by a motor vehicle.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said there was nothing new to report Monday, adding that county detectives spent the day interviewing family members and friends and neighbors of the victim.
“We can't comment on any leads or suspects at this time,” she said.
Jenkins Township Chief Frank Mudlock said police are following leads. He said reports that the suspected vehicle was white in color are unconfirmed.
Next-door neighbors Jim and Eileen McLaughlin were the first to report the incident. Jim McLaughlin had just finished mowing his lawn when his wife looked out the front window and saw a pair of shoes in the road.
“We walked toward the mailboxes and saw a body lying on the road,” he said. “As we got closer we noticed it was Jeanie.”
McLaughlin said he called 911 immediately.
“I hope the person responsible comes forward and fesses up to what he or she did,” he said. “To leave a person lying on the side of the road to die is wrong.”
Betty Bolosky, 85, was with Darsky all day doing their “routine” of church, lunch and conversation. Bolosky, who lives just up the street, said Darsky was like a daughter to her.
“We went to services at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Duryea,” Bolosky said. “Then we came back to my house for lunch and to read our papers.”
Bolosky said she and Darsky then went to Wesley Village to visit Bolosky's sister before returning to their Westminster Road homes.
“I dropped Jeanie off at her mailbox, like I always do,” Bolosky said. “When I pulled away, I noticed a white vehicle swerving behind me. I thought it was someone pulling into a driveway. I had no idea what had happened.”
Bolosky said she got home and laid down for a nap when police knocked on her door. She said she was shocked to hear of her friend's death.
Sheryl Storch, Jean Darsky's niece, lives next door with her husband, Charles. They, like Bolosky and McLaughlin, have been concerned about the location of the mailboxes and their proximity to the road that is posted at 35 mph. They say traffic often exceeds that limit on the state roadway.
“We've asked for more police patrols to try to slow traffic,” Sheryl Storch said. “But we never see police here, and now my aunt is dead.”
McLaughlin said traffic has increased significantly recently because of repairs being done to the nearby Suscon Road Bridge. Storch said tractor-trailers also use the road.
McLaughlin has a camera surveillance system on his house and one of the cameras points at the mailboxes across the street. However, he said he checked the video and found nothing of the hit-and-run. He said police checked it, too, but apparently the system was not working at the time of the incident.
“Her light is always going to shine,” Mark Darsky said of his mother. “Do I want justice? Sure, but when your time is up, it's up. This was such a freak thing — it was Sunday in the middle of the afternoon.”
He and the neighbors said another neighbor was struck when backing out of his driveway about a year and a half ago. They said something has to be done about the speed of traffic.
“I feel sorry for whoever did this,” Darsky said. “He or she has to have a conscience, and to clear that conscience you need forgiveness.”