BERWICK, Dad. (AP) – One person was killed and another 17 were injured when a vehicle struck a crowd gathered at a Pennsylvania bar for a fundraiser for victims of a house fire that left 10 dead earlier this month; the man who police said was the driver was arrested shortly afterwards for the death of his mother nearby.
The crash happened on Saturday around 6:15 p.m. outside the bar of the Intoxicology Department in Berwick, which was scheduled to hold an all-day fundraiser for the victims of the August 5 fire that left seven adults and three children in Nescopeck. perished.
Pennsylvania state police identified the driver as 24-year-old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes van Nescopeck. He was arraigned early Sunday morning on two counts of murder.
Shortly after the crash was reported, troopers were called about a man “physically assaulting” a woman less than a mile away in Nescopeck. Troopers arrived to find that Sura Reyes had been arrested by the local police and that a woman was dead.
Lucerne County coroner Francis Hacken confirmed Sunday that the victim, Rosa D. Reyes, 56, of Nescopeck — who died of multiple traumatic injuries after being struck by a vehicle and then assaulted with a hammer — was the mother of suspect Sura Reyes.
Geisinger Medical Center said it received 15 patients after the crash, and five remained in critical condition while three were listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said Sunday morning. Seven patients had been treated in hospitals and released.
Trooper Anthony Petroski III told reporters at a midnight news conference that Sura Reyes was not currently a suspect in the fire, the cause of which is still under investigation.
“This is a complete tragedy in a community where tragedies have already occurred,” Petroski said. “We are going to do our best job to do a thorough investigation, not only for the families, but also for the community members. They’re already in pain.”
Sura Reyes was denied bail and remained in the Columbia County Jail pending a preliminary hearing on August 29. Wilkes-Barre newspapers reported that he only said “Sorry” in response to questions from reporters when he was taken from the Shickshinny police station. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer to comment on his behalf.
The first funerals for victims of the fire were held on Fridayand more were scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
The bar called the events an “absolute tragedy” and said on its Facebook page that they will be closed until further notice and want privacy “as we grieve and try to process the events that have happened.”