WILKES-BARRE — A man charged in a hit-and-run that severely injured a bicyclist earlier this year at Harveys Lake pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated assault charges and agreed to pay the victim nearly $45,000.
Gregory M. Strazdus, 47, of Dallas, was charged with hitting 52-year-old Kurt Manganella as he biked around Lakeside Drive March 9.
Strazdus fled the scene, near Pole 69, but was later tracked to his residence after a neighbor reported noticing Strazdus’ damaged Chevrolet Equinox in the driveway, police said.
Strazdus admitted to being at the lake at the time Manganella was struck and stated he believed he had hit a mailbox. He told police he slowed down, looked in the mirror and didn’t see anything so he continued driving.
Manganella, who was hospitalized with broken ribs, lung contusions and scrapes and bruises following the hit-and-run, later told police he had been hit by the passenger side front fender and, as he hit the ground, heard the engine rev and the vehicle speed up.
Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III accepted Strazdus’ plea on charges of aggravated assault by vehicle and accidents involving death or personal injury — felonies that carry a maximum seven-year prison sentence — as well as a summary traffic violation.
Court documents indicate Strazdus, who is scheduled to be sentenced between Oct. 13-16, will serve at least 18 months in the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) with the first six months on house arrest with electronic monitoring as part of the plea agreement.
The judge ordered Strazdus to pay Manganella $44,541 in restitution for medical bills and lost earnings and pen an apology letter.