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Schuylkill County News

Man Charged in Fatal Cass Twp. Crash Was Speeding, Had DUI Suspended License, Bad Registration

Details on investigation into Rodney Rivers and the fatal crash that took the life of a Pottsville woman

Details on the investigation that led to a vehicular homicide charge against Rodney Rivers in connection with the fatal Cass Township crash that killed a Pottsville woman and seriously injured two children on Friday night were released Monday.

The Canary obtained the criminal complaint against Rivers filed by Pennsylvania State Trooper Nicholas Reese on Monday.

In his complaint, Reese says Rivers, 46, with a listed address of Youngstown, Ohio, was speeding at the time of the crash, had a suspended driver’s license because of a prior DUI conviction, had an improper vehicle registration, and didn’t have insurance.

On Friday night, Rivers crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by 65-year-old Elizabeth Ryan, of Pottsville. Ryan died from injuries suffered in the crash. She had two children on board with her, an 8-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy.

Police say the girl in Ryan’s car suffered life-threatening injuries and the boy suffered serious injuries.

Rivers, however, walked away from the crash scene, apparently uninjured.

Minersville PD Spotted Bogus Registration on Rivers’ Vehicle

It was the bogus registration on Rivers’ vehicle on Friday night that prompted a Minersville police officer, Eric Wilson, on patrol at the time to attempt to stop him before the crash.

Reese says in his complaint that Wilson was on patrol in a marked Minersville PD vehicle with its headlights on at the intersection of Sunbury and North 6th streets.

While on patrol, Wilson says he saw a dark sedan drive by him. He checked the registration on JNET and found that it matched a different vehicle and was expired. So, he activated his emergency lights and began to follow the dark sedan, which happened to be driven by Rivers, traveling west on Sunbury St.

Wilson says soon after turning on the emergency lights and pulling out from his patrol spot, he noticed Rivers’ vehicle a considerable distance ahead of him. Wilson then activated the siren on his vehicle. As he tried to make up the distance, Wilson says he heard Foster Twp. Police Officer Gerard Daley report a crash over emergency radio.

Moments later, Wilson drove upon the scene of that crash Daley reported and saw the black Audi he was following. Wilson says when he was pulling up to the scene, he saw Rivers walking toward his patrol vehicle.

Reese says in his complaint that he reviewed the dash cam footage from Daley’s vehicle and that video shows Rivers’ Audi speeding in a westerly direction in the eastbound lane of Route 901 (Sunbury Rd.).

The crash happened less than a mile from Wilson’s original position where he was on patrol and first spotted Rivers’ Audi and its improper registration.

Before the crash, police say Rivers passed two other vehicles in a no passing zone on Route 901. The drivers of those vehicles reportedly told police they’d seen the headlights of Rivers’ vehicle approaching quickly and feared they’d get hit before they were passed.

When Rivers struck Ryan’s vehicle, it knocked Ryan’s vehicle into the opposing traffic lane and the drivers of the two passed vehicles had to take evasive action to avoid getting struck by her vehicle.

Rivers is being charged with vehicular homicide, 3 counts of vehicular aggravated assault, 3 counts of causing an accident that resulted in death or injury without a valid license, and numerous other charges. He also faces numerous other charges related to this incident.

Rivers was arraigned on Sunday morning before District Magistrate Edward Tarantelli and remanded to Schuylkill County Prison on $500,000 cash bail. He’s due back in court, before District Magistrate David Rossi, for a Preliminary Hearing on Feb. 22.

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  1. Paulette

    February 13, 2024 at 10:29 am

    At most he’ll get a sentence for a few months in jail. Pathetic Sch. County courts.

  2. Abby

    February 13, 2024 at 12:58 pm

    Can’t help but wonder why someone from Ohio is on 901 in Minersville driving an Audi, don’t you?

  3. Jimmyhow

    February 15, 2024 at 1:15 am

    Good luck 🙂

  4. Quitestorm

    February 19, 2024 at 11:39 am

    ?… update on the children?

    • Canary Commenter

      February 19, 2024 at 12:29 pm

      When we know, you’ll know. It’s not easy getting medical info these days.

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