SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A hit and run victim is in the hospital after the driver accused of striking him left the scene only to return minutes later. It happened Thursday morning around 8:30. Police say the reason the accused driver fled is no excuse.
The shoes and hat of 83-year-old Ramanbhai Patel are some of the evidence of the hit and run that seriously injured the Scranton man in the city’s Hill Section. Police say the driver, 31-year-old Stephen Vaccaro of Taylor, was transporting four clients from ARC of Northeastern Pennsylvania when he claims the sun blinded him at Mulberry Street and Prescott Avenue. Instead of stopping after the crash, police say Vaccaro dropped off the clients at The Arc a couple of miles away and drove back to the scene with a supervisor about ten minutes later. Even though he returned quickly, Scranton Police Captain Dennis Lukasewicz say it’s still a crime. “You need to stop, have contact with police and stand by until we get there.”
Besides breaking the law, Capt. Lukasewicz says it put the hit and run victim in even greater danger. “Any other vehicles could have come by and struck him again which would have further damaged him.”
Police took the van involved in the crash to look for any possible evidence. They believe the victim crossed Mulberry Street after stopping at the Turkey Hill and was heading to his nearby home but instead ended up rushed to Geisinger CMC.
People who know Mr. Patel say he routinely walks this neighborhood but one neighbor says at this particular intersection it sorely lacks something. Pravin Patel, who is not related to the victim, says the high traffic area ought to have crosswalk markings. “It’s a white strip they put there so that people can walk carefully and drivers also have to carefully pass there.”
Mr. Vaccaro was taken for blood alcohol testing and is now on administrative leave from The Arc. Police say Mr. Patel suffered head, pelvic and leg injuries but is expected to survive.