Dauphin County man convicted of traffic summaries involving an ailing construction worker

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LEVEL TWP. – A Dauphin County man who, according to State Police, beat a construction worker in an active construction zone on the North Cross Valley Expressway earlier this year was convicted Tuesday of four traffic offenses.

Brian K. Lucas, 41, from Gratz, could have his license suspended for the most serious summary offense for up to six months.

The state police in Wilkes-Barre quoted Lucas for speeding, careless driving, reckless driving and driving in the traffic lane after he hit Thomas Vitale (53) from Nanticoke on April 26 at 10:20 am.

Vitale was using a jackhammer on a construction site when he was hit by a shed that Lucas was towing.

During the hearing in front of District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. in Plains Township, State Police officer Michael J. Tereska testified that the accident occurred in the northbound lanes that had been reduced to a single lane due to construction.

Tereska said Lucas was interrogated after the accident.

According to Tereska’s testimony, Lucas said he was driving his 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck and hauling an oversized load of sheds on a trailer. The Dodge was marked as an oversized cargo.

When Lucas realized he’d hit someone, he stopped and ran back to help.

Lucas told Tereska and trooper Keith M. Roman that he was traveling at about 45 mph when he met Vitale.

When Tereska was interviewed by Lucas’ attorney Dominic J. Mastri, the speed limit was not reduced and there were no warning signs prohibiting oversized loads from being driven through the construction site.

Tereska said Lucas was not under the influence of any substances or alcohol when he was questioned.

Vitale, who sustained permanent injuries and testified from a wheelchair, said traffic signs had been posted in front of the construction site warning motorists.

Vitale said he was pounding with compressed air when he was hit by the oversized load.

“I was hit on my right side, I didn’t see him coming and that was it,” Vitale said.

Vitale’s colleague Timothy Franconi Jr. said the first road sign was 2 miles away, then another sign at a mile and a third sign at half a mile warning motorists that road works were going on ahead of them and that two lanes would be merged one. Traffic was directed by an arrow sign and cone on the expressway, Franconi said.

Franconi said he saw Vitale disappear and a corner of the shed break apart.

Spagnuolo found Lucas guilty of the four traffic offenses. He is expected to appeal to the local court.

The reckless driving conviction has penalties for the loss of driving authorizations of up to six months.

Attorney Richard Russo of the law firm Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald in Wilkes-Barre was present over the possibility of a civil lawsuit against Lucas.

“This case is a tragic example of what happens when you drive recklessly through an active work zone,” said Russo after the hearing.


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