Luzerne County -- Police led 38-year-old Charles Schrader of Plymouth out of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Thursday after he underwent a blood test for suspicion of driving under the influence. Schrader did not respond to Eyewitness News when asked what happened to his pickup truck that ended up catching fire after the collision in Dallas.
Police accuse Schrader, the owner of Charlie's Handyman Service, of slamming his company vehicle into the rear of an SUV on the Memorial Highway near Main Road. "We heard the bang and I turned around and seen a jeep. I guess a lady was in the jeep. She was taken with the ambulance," said Paul Stark of Trucksville. He was seated in Carl's Barber Shop around 9:30 a.m. waiting for a hair cut when the crash happened. Eyewitnesses say Schrader then backed up the damaged pickup on the Memorial Highway and into the barber shop parking lot before the vehicle burst into flames. "We all got out of here because I mean if that gas tank would have went up I mean it would have definitely taken the building with it," said Carl Glady who owns Carl's Barber Shop. Mr. Stark added, "I mean if that were to ever blow up, we'd been toast."
The barber and his customers weren't the only ones who left the lot. They say they watched Schrader leave the scene. "He got out, had his cell phone and then he started walking up that way. And some guy come across and was following him," said Mr. Stark.
Police say after Schrader ran through the woods it didn't take long for them to track him down. Thanks to a witness, officers were led to this busy shopping district just a couple hundred yards up the road. Police say they caught Schrader without incident at a business in the Dallas Shopping Center. Others can't understand why Schrader would just take off like that. "Why would you walk away from something like that. There's something, there's a problem you know," said Mr. Glady. Mr. Stark added, "He either didn't have a license or something cause he, you know, you bang something like that you don't take off. I mean you don't hit and run."
Police say Schrader denies that he was at the wheel of the hit and run vehicle that was totaled after it caught fire. Police expect to charge him once they get back the blood test results. The other driver, 37-year-old Caroline Miller of Dallas, was treated and released. Her SUV sustained moderate damage.