Bail reduction bid withdrawn, trial rescheduled for Harveys Lake man accused of running down jogger

By Joe Dolinsky - | March 24th, 2016 12:42 pm

By Joe Dolinsky


WILKES-BARRE — A second attempt in just over three months to lessen the bail of a fatal hit-and-run suspect never saw the light of day in a brief hearing Thursday in Luzerne County Court.

Chief Public Defender Steven M. Greenwald withdrew a petition to reduce the $400,000 bail amount set for Michael J. Scavone during a pre-trial conference before Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas, who rejected a similar bid to lower Scavone’s bail on Dec. 23.

Greenwald declined to comment on the reason for the withdrawal.

Assistant Public Defender Jessica D. Larkin, who took over as Scavone’s counsel after Scavone could no longer afford private representation, wrote in a court filing last week that a bail reduction would let Scavone support his elderly mother, Rosemary Scavone.

Additionally, Larkin said Scavone is struggling with kidney cancer and requires regular treatment. He has also been attending weekly drug and alcohol meetings in jail but would be able to attend the meetings daily if bail was reduced, Larkin wrote.

Scavone, 50, of Harveys Lake, is awaiting trial on charges of homicide by vehicle while under the influence, along with seven other related offenses. The trial, scheduled for June 6, has been rescheduled to July 11.

Scavone is accused of running down Paula Jones on June 7 in a fatal hit-and-run crash as the 31-year-old triathlete, of Factoryville, jogged along a straight stretch of Lakeside Drive in Harveys Lake. Scavone, who told investigators he spent the day drinking beer and Yukon Jack liqueur, fled the scene of the crash, according to police.

Jones’ husband, Brian Jones, later filed a 20-page civil suit alleging wrongful death and seeking damages against Scavone, American Legion Post 672 in Dallas and several defendants associated with the Grotto Pizza bar and restaurant in Harveys Lake — two locations prosecutors allege Scavone was drinking at prior to Jones’ death.

Police said Scavone, a repeat DUI offender, had a blood-alcohol level of .214 two hours after the fatal crash.

After the blood test, a sobbing Scavone allegedly told a detective, “I wish it were me.”

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL