Penny Gorens facing ARD court hearing
Penny Gorens, a Coatesville resident who crashed a school bus on Nov. 12 in Wilmot Township and left the scene before emergency personnel arrived, is scheduled to make an appearance in Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition court on May 2 before Senior Judge Kenneth Brown.
Gorens is facing 36 charges stemming from the incident, 24 of which are endangering the welfare of children. Gorens has also been charged with five counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, and seven other summary offenses relating to traffic violations.
According to state police, Gorens was driving a Wyalusing School District bus at an unsafe speed when she lost control while turning onto Cotter Road from Burke Road. The bus the left the roadway and traveled over a 7-foot embankment and into a field.
Several students were injured during the 4 p.m. accident, police said.
Gorens, after being informed that emergency vehicles were on the way by those who witnessed the accident and called 911, failed to check the students for injuries and the bus for damage before leaving the scene prior to emergency personnel arriving.
Gorens was also seen with a cell phone in her hand by students right after the bus came to a stop following the accident, police said. One of the summary charges against Gorens relates to having a cell phone in her hand while driving.
District Attorney Dan Barrett described ARD as a "diversionary program" which is offered to first time offenders and people who have not been through the court system in the past.
At the hearing, Barrett said the district attorney's office will make a recommendation to the court on whether or not Gorens should be allowed into the ARD program.
The judge will usually move in favor of the recommendation made, Barrett said.
Barrett also explained that while most counties have a defined set of guidelines for DUI offenders in the ARD program, other offenses are not as uniform. The terms of Gorens' program will require probation supervision, and may require participation in community service or counseling if the Judge deems it necessary, Barrett said.
"If completed (the ARD program) the charges are wiped off the criminal docket," Barrett said.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.