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Freeland man pleads to vehicular homicide

April DUI crash in Butler Township claimed life of 69-year-old man.

WILKES-BARRE – A Freeland man pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from an April car crash that killed a 69-year-old McAdoo man.

Kevin Prussock, 25, who was to stand trial in January, pleaded guilty Monday to the charges in the wreck that killed Joseph Gigliotti.

Prussock pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of driving under the influence on Monday at what was supposed to be a pre-trial hearing for the January trial.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella accepted the guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 2.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Vough said Prussock faces a mandatory minimum of three to six years in jail, and that both he and Gigliotti’s family are pleased with the guilty plea.

“It saves (the family) from extra grief in going through the trial and hearing testimony about their loved one,” Vough said. “We’re very satisfied.”

Vough said Prussock faces sentencing on the two most serious charges, homicide by motor vehicle and driving under the influence, plus reckless endangerment.

Prussock’s attorney, Lewis Bott, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday afternoon.

According to police, Prussock was drunk when he crashed his 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada into a 1993 Ford Tempo driven by Gigliotti on East Butler Drive in Butler Township. Police said Prussock’s vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and struck Gigliotti’s vehicle around 1:30 p.m. on April 24.

Police said Prussock’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the level at which an adult driver in Pennsylvania is considered too intoxicated to drive.

Luzerne County Chief Deputy Coroner William Lisman said Gigliotti died from multiple traumatic injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Lisman said.

Prussock was originally charged with homicide by motor vehicle, homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, two counts each of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence and several traffic violations.

At a July preliminary hearing held for Prussock, Butler Township Sgt. Brian Sabatini testified he questioned Prussock at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center, where he was taken for injuries to his arm after the crash.

Sabatini said Prussock admitted to drinking at a West Hazleton bar for much of the morning, but couldn’t recall how many beers he had. Prussock faces a 12-month license suspension, and more than $14,000 in restitution, Ciavarella said.

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