Luzerne County District Attorney turns over case because of ‘personal relationship’ with witness.

Last updated: May 25. 2013 12:14AM - 5436 Views
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WILKES-BARRE — The investigation and possible prosecution in the Mother’s Day fatal hit-and-run incident in Jenkins Township has been turned over to the state Office of Attorney General.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis stated in a news release that she “has a close personal relationship with one of the witnesses who came forward in the case,” compelling her to ask the attorney general to coordinate the investigation.

Jean Darsky, 65, was struck by a vehicle May 12 while she was standing in front of her house on Westminster Road. The driver drove away. Darsky, who had just been dropped off near her home after attending church, died from her injuries.

An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross determined Darsky died from multiple traumatic injuries. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Township police and the district attorney’s office were involved in the early stages of the investigation, but a news release issued by the DA’s Office on Friday morning stated: “Due to a potential conflict with the district attorney’s office, the fatal hit and run … has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation in conjunction with the Jenkins Township Police Department for prosecution.”

Details about why a conflict existed were not provided in the first news release.

A second release was issued by the office in the afternoon in response to news media inquiries; it stated Salavantis has a personal relationship with a witness who came forward and had come upon information about the fatality.

“Upon conferring with the Attorney General’s Office, both agencies agree that a conflict exists and to avoid any appearance of impropriety, the best course of action was for the Attorney General to proceed with the investigation and prosecution,” the second news release stated.

No charges have been filed, and the Attorney General’s Office had no comment Friday.

State police at Wyoming examined a vehicle of interest in the fatality and conducted an accident reconstruction on Westminster Road.

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