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Schuylkill County News

Vehicular Homicide Case Against Rodney Rivers Held for County Court

Rivers appeared via video conference at Thursday’s preliminary hearing in Tremont.

Vehicular homicide and other related charges against Rodney Rivers were held for Schuylkill County Court during a Preliminary Hearing on Thursday in Tremont. Rivers is accused of crashing head-on into a vehicle driven by Elizabeth Ryan, of Pottsville. Ryan died in the crash. Two children in her vehicle were seriously injured.

District Magistrate David Rossi ruled Thursday afternoon that vehicular homicide and vehicular aggravated assault charges facing Rodney Rivers be held for Schuylkill County Court.

During a 4-minute hearing on Thursday in Tremont, Rivers appeared by video conference from Northumberland County Prison. He is accused of crashing head-on into a vehicle driven by Elizabeth Ryan, 65, of Pottsville, on the evening of Feb. 9, in Cass Township, outside Minersville.

Rivers’ attorney, Lora McDonald, from the Schuylkill County Public Defenders Office, entered a not guilty plea on her client’s behalf at the hearing.

Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O’Pake called a single witness during the brief proceeding. That was Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Nicholas Reese.

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Reese testified Thursday that his affidavit filed against Rivers in the vehicular homicide case is accurate.

McDonald called no witnesses.

Rossi then ruled that the charges against Rivers, 46, be held for Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas.

Rivers is accused of crashing head-on into Ryan’s vehicle. Ryan had two children on board with her at the time of the crash, an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. Police say he passed several vehicles on the left on Route 901 just outside Minersville.

It was in Minersville that a police officer, Eric Wilson, had spotted Rivers’ vehicle and noticed that it had the incorrect registration. Wilson then followed Rivers at a distance, according to Reese’s affidavit, with his patrol vehicle’s lights and siren activated. But for a short time, Wilson lost sight of Rivers’ vehicle, a black Audi sedan.

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Moments later, while in pursuit, Wilson says he heard Foster Township police officer Gerard Daley report a vehicle crash. As Wilson arrived at the scene of the crash, he says, Rivers was walking toward his patrol 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.

Rossi ruled that Rivers remain in prison on $500,000 bail on this case. He’s being held at Northumberland County Prison because Ryan is the mother of a high-ranking Schuylkill County Prison official.

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