COAL TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A man in jail for the death of his ex-girlfriend, has changed his plea to guilty on Monday, nearly two years later.
According to the Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office, Stephen Kruskie, 28, is being charged with the 2021 death of Cheyenne Swartz. The charge of homicide has been changed to voluntary manslaughter and Kruskie is pleading guilty to these charges.
On May 21, 2021, officers originally responded to West Arch Street to find Cheyenne Swartz (pictured below) unconscious in a pool of her own blood. Swartz was flown to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville where she later succumbed to her injuries and died on May 25, 2021.
The Montour County Coroner Scott Lynn said the manner of death was a homicide. “The initial exam our office did showed she was dragged and rolled from a vehicle,” Lynn told Eyewitness News.
Officers then arrested Stephen Kruskie (pictured below), of Mount Carmel and charged him with homicide.
Police say Swartz and Kruskie, her ex-boyfriend, were in an “on again, off again’ type of relationship, and the two were arguing in Kruskie’s Jeep Cherokee when Swartz tried to exit the vehicle but was dragged by the vehicle before being run over by the back tires.
Kruskie was identified as Swartz’s ex-boyfriend by her mother, who said the two were together earlier in the day. However, when questioned by police, Kruskie reportedly told officers he saw Swartz earlier and spent the day with her but ultimately dropped her off and denied ever arguing with her that day. Claiming he dropped her off just a few blocks away from her mother’s house.
Court papers say Kruskie was questioned by officers and agreed to a search of his vehicle where police found the passenger-side door hinge to be damaged.
According to police, another person Kruskie and Swartz were with the night of the incident told officers he “believes that Kruskie is responsible for Swartz getting hurt.”
Officers say Kruskie told police he was scared and drove away without checking on Swartz but did not explain why he was scared.
Kruskie has been in jail since his 2021 arrest and jury selection for his trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, March 13, 2023, when he changed his plea to guilty.
According to the Northumberland County DA’s Office, Kruskie’s original charge of homicide has been amended to voluntary manslaughter.
Kruskie is also charged with accidents involving death or personal injury, recklessly endangering another person, unsworn falsification to authorities, furnishing authorities with information without knowledge, reckless driving, careless driving, driving at safe speeds, failure to stop and give information or render aid, aggravated assault by vehicle, aggravated assault attempts to cause serious bodily injury or causes injury with extreme indifference, aggravated assault attempts to cause or causes bodily injury with a deadly weapon.
Kruskie’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 1:15 p.m.