Magisterial District Court Reports
DUI, Drug Charge

Joshua Robert Lear, 23, 14 Yeager Road, Mountain Top, has been charged with DUI, Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and related charges stemming from an incident that took place on June 24, 2016. Charges were filed by Ptlm. Andrew Hashagen of the Rice Township Police Department.

According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, on June 24, 2016, Ptlm. Hashagen was sitting on Nuangola Road in the area of Nelly’s Travel Plaza, when a dark SUV came to a stop sign on the Interstate 81 off ramp. The vehicle stopped at the stop sign and remained stopped for about 30-40 seconds then made a left turn. While the vehicle was stopped there was no other traffic on Nuangola Road.

Finding this suspicious, Ptlm. Hashagen followed the vehicle and observed the vehicle make an unusually wide turn as the vehicle turned left on to Chruch Road. As Ptlm. Hashagen continued to follow, the vehicle it was observed swerving into the opposite lane of traffic. The vehicle would move all the way to the fog line of the opposing lane, and then dart back across to the fog line on the correct side of the road. At one point, the vehicle steered into the gravel on the side of the road and almost struck the telephone pole in front of the police station. At this time Ptlm. Hashagen got close to the vehicle in order to initiate a traffic stop.

The officer approached the vehicle and asked for the drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. The driver, Joshua Lear, stated that he did not have any of that in his possession and began aggressively stating that he had done nothing wrong and should not have been pulled over. Ptlm. Hashagen noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle, and a bold odor he knew to be crack cocaine. Joshua Lear had glossy eyes and a short temper, at one point being calm and polite and then becoming more aggressive. The officer was asked where he was coming from and Joshua stated he had just gotten cigarettes from the store and was going home. Officer Hashagen told Joshua that he was seen exiting the interstate and at no time did he stop for cigarettes at the Travel plaza. Joshua stated he got the cigarettes from Kmart, however, it was 1:22 a. m. making this very unlikely.

Ptlm. Hashagen requested an additional unit and Officer Stanley of the Fairview Township Police Department arrived on the scene. Joshua Lear was asked to step out of the vehicle and was asked to perform standardized field sobriety tests.

Lear failed the tests and had been drinking alcohol. He stated he used mouth wash earlier but no alcohol. A PTB was given and it showed a positive result for alcohol. Lear was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Joshua Lear stated he had three “cocktails” at a party. While handcuffing Lear, he began to pull away and stated not to touch him. Lear was told he was in custody and it was not his choice to be handcuffed or not.

Search incident to lawful arrest was performed in the wingspan of the driver, an open container of Four Loko brand malt brewed beverage was found, still cold and half empty. Also found in the vehicle was a glass tube with burn marks on the end, commonly used to digest crack cocaine, a pink silver pipe with marijuana residue, and two plastic containers of suboxone were discovered. Lear was also placed under arrest for these items.

Lear was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley for a BAC draw. Lear self admitted to using suboxone earlier today. He was released into the custody of his mother.

Drug Charges

Christopher Alan Pawlenok, 20, 501 Robin’s Way, Mountain Top, has been charged with Possession of Marijuana, Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Disorderly Conduct stemming from an incident on August 7, 2016. Charges were filed by Ptlm. Andrew Hashagen of the Rice Township Police Department.

According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, on August 7, 2016 Ptlm. Hashagen was contacted by Fairview Township Officer Benson who stated that Mark Swartwood came into his station with an orange bag containing suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia; both Swartwood and Officer Benson came to the Rice Township Police station to hand over the items.

Ptlm. Hashagen asked Swartwood how he obtained the items and he stated that his daughter was having a party at his house and he was awakened by the noise. When he came downstairs he witnessed a male known to him as Christopher Pawlenok, the defendant, going through his liquor cabinet. Swartwood yelled at the defendant to stop. Swartwood then stated he saw the defendant stuff something into his pants and walk away. Swartwood, thinking this was a possible bottle of liquor, stopped the defendant and saw a bulge in his waistband. Swartwood lifted the defendant’s shirt and found an orange bag with drug paraphernalia. Swartwood then turned all items over to police and filled out a voluntary statement form about the events of the night.

Ptlm. Hashagen inventoried the items and found the following: a plastic bag with approximately 5 grams of suspected marijuana, a black scale, wood cigar tip wrappers, a glass pipe with marijuana residue, and a blue “grinder” with suspected marijuana.

Ptlm. Hashagen attempted to make contact with the defendant and have him come in for an interview. The defendant contacted his attorney who stated that he would not be interviewed until possibly over a week. Ptlm. Hashagen told his attorney that an interview was not necessary and charges would be filed.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled November 16, 2016 at 10 a. m. before Magisterial District Judge Gerald L. Feissner.