Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bail changed in fatal hit-run case

February 20. 2013 4:30AM
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WILKES-BARRE – Bail conditions imposed upon Daniel Loughnane set him up to fail, his attorney said, leaving a Luzerne County judge to issue new rules on Thursday.

Judge Richard Hughes ordered Loughnane, 40, of West Liberty Street, Hanover Township, not to have any contact with Jessie Spencer, the mother of his 7-year-old son. Loughnane and Spencer will have to make child custody arrangements through attorney Eric Dingle.

Loughnane is facing a felony charge he left the scene after he allegedly struck Rebecca McCallick, 19, with his vehicle in front of her apartment on Hazle Avenue, Wilkes-Barre, on July 24. McCallick died at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

Hughes determined Loughnane violated conditions of his bail when he allegedly chastised Spencer about showing up in court and testifying against him at a hearing on Jan. 3.

Loughnane was charged with the offense Dec. 18 when District Judge Rick Cronauer imposed bail conditions that he was not to have contact with Spencer except for child custody schedules.

Deputy District Attorney Alexis Falvello requested Loughnane's bail be revoked.

Spencer played a three-minute voice mail that Loughnane allegedly left on her cellphone on Jan. 15. Loughnane was heard complaining to Spencer about not allowing their son to visit him that weekend.

All I want is my time with (son), Loughnane was heard saying. You have no problem showing up in court all the time. I'm going to fight this to the end.

In a phone call on Jan. 16, Spencer said she took notes claiming Loughnane told her she should have kept her mouth shut and their son was going to resent her for cooperating with police.

Spencer said city police Detective David Sobocinski advised her to take notes whenever Loughnane discussed non-child-custody issues. She reported the alleged conversations about the criminal case several days after Jan. 16.

Loughnane and Spencer have been fighting over custody of their son for six years.

She admitted she obtained an emergency petition that temporarily banned Loughnane from seeing his son after the fatal hit-and-run on July 24.

Hughes permitted Loughnane to remain free on $50,000 bail while ordering all child custody arrangements have to go through Dingle.

The judge's decision was adamantly fair, said Loughnane's lawyer, Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. He certainly recognized that this is a custody dispute that unfortunately involves a 7-year-old boy.

Loughnane's trial date has not been scheduled. He is scheduled to be formally arraigned in county court on March 8.

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