PLYMOUTH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The family of a Luzerne County man who was struck and killed by a car earlier this year is raising questions about how the police handled the investigation.
56-year-old Dean Eckrote was hit as he crossed East Main Street in Plymouth. His family believes that justice was not served in this case. They reached out to the I-Team with their concerns.
Dean Eckrote was hit by that car in the 300 block of East Main Street. The police say it was an accident but Eckrote’s family insists the police did not do enough to make that determination.
“I just feel they just swept it under the rug. They didn’t do a thing as far as investigating the accident,” Eckrote’s sister, Debra Conrad said.
Eckrote’s brother and sisters say they are frustrated by what they call the inadequate police investigation into his death. They have a memorial set up inside their Plymouth home complete with photos of their brother and an urn containing his ashes.
Eckrote died after being struck by a car on East Main Street on the night of April 19. It was just after 9 p.m. It was a rainy night. The family obtained home security video of their brother walking across the street that night. Eyewitness News will not show the moment Eckrote is struck as it may be disturbing to some viewers.
“They did not call in a reconstructive unit. The call came in at 9:02 and then 10:00 the road was open. What kind of investigation can you get out of one hour?” Eckrote’s sister Nicole Lanteigne said.
And the police report indicates the driver of the car was driving too fast for conditions.
“My question is could the accident maybe not have happened if she wasn’t going too fast for conditions? Again we don’t know how fast she was going because it wasn’t reconstructed. But if you were going slower and if it were raining you should, with the speed limit 25 miles per hour, you should be going slower than 25,” Lanteigne said.
Plymouth Police Chief Anthony Gorey insists the investigation was thorough and complete. He says his officers worked in conjunction with other agencies including the Pennsylvania State Police. In a statement to Eyewitness News, Chief Gorey added: “We were unable to establish any violations other than a vehicle code violation of pedestrian in a roadway. Although the officer listed driving at a safe speed as a factor of the crash, that doesn’t mean a violation could be established. The main factor of the crash was a pedestrian in a roadway.”
As for why there was no accident reconstruction, Chief Gorey says the rain would have had a negative impact on any possible evidence such as skid marks on the highway. He says reconstruction crews are not always called in depending on weather conditions.
Eyewitness News did not name the driver of the car that hit Eckrote since that person was not charged in the crash. We did reach out to them for comment on this story. Those efforts were unsuccessful.