Towanda man accused of running over pedestrian cleared of charges
The Daily Review had reported on Aug. 27 that Joshua Charles Nemeth of Towanda was accused of running over a pedestrian at a wedding reception in Franklin Township and that he was therefore being charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence.
The article was based on a press release that the state police had issued after they had done what they called a preliminary investigation of the incident.
State police now say that, after conducting a more extensive investigation, no charges will be filed against Nemeth.
State police now describe the 30-year-old Nemeth as the victim in the incident. They now say that when Nemeth felt threatened by a large crowd that was gathering around his vehicle, he backed up in an attempt to flee and inadvertently struck a 28-year-old man who was trying to get into his vehicle.
And police say that Robert Lee Raezer Jr. of Ulster and Erick James Bartholomew of Monroeton then were able to enter Nemeth's vehicle and punched Nemeth in the head until he lost consciousness.
Raezer, 43, and Bartholomew, 25, were both charged this week with felony aggravated assault in connection with the incident, which occurred on Aug. 24, state police at Towanda said in a press release that they issued late Tuesday night.
The state police had said in their initial press release, which is dated Aug. 25, that Nemeth had not been invited to the reception, and that after he refused to leave, he got in his vehicle and ran over the 28-year-old man.
In the press release that they issued on Tuesday, state police said that Nemeth had in fact been invited to the reception by the bride.
The following is the state police's current account of the incident, based on the press release that they issued Tuesday and a criminal complaint that they filed Wednesday in Towanda District Court against Raezer:
After Nemeth arrived at the reception, he got into an argument with Raezer.
Nemeth was then asked to leave the reception.
As Nemeth tried to leave, he got into an argument with 18-year-old Hope Victoria Raezer of Athens, who struck Nemeth in the face multiple times as he sat in his vehicle.
A large crowd began surrounding Nemeth's vehicle, at which time he tried to leave the scene for his own safety. Twenty-eight-year-old Brian Michael Hart, no address given, tried to gain access to the vehicle through the driver side door as Nemeth was backing up, and was inadvertently struck by Nemeth's vehicle.
As Nemeth was attempting to flee, he backed into another vehicle, at which time the crowd surrounded Nemeth's vehicle and he was unable to leave.
Raezer and Bartholomew gained access to Nemeth's vehicle by smashing the driver side window, and they struck Nemeth in the head until he lost consciousness.
The groom, 34-year-old Christopher James Donovan of Monroeton, got into the bed of Nemeth's truck and kicked out the rear window.
Nemeth was transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre by ambulance.
Nemeth suffered a mild brain injury, a broken nose, a broken jaw and several cuts.
Hart received minor injuries and declined to receive medical treatment.
Hope Raezer was charged with simple assault. Donovan was charged with the summary offense of criminal mischief.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.