A Jacobus woman is no longer facing a felony charge for an alleged confrontation with a local fire chief that police said ended with her running over his foot and striking him with her vehicle.
At the close of Faye Hammers' preliminary hearing Thursday, District Judge Jeff Joy dismissed a charge of aggravated assault that had been filed against her, according to court records.
Joy concluded enough evidence exists for Hammers to stand trial on the lesser charges of simple assault, reckless endangerment, harassment, failing to obey an authorized person directing traffic, failing to stay within her lane of travel, reckless driving and careless driving.
"It did not happen as described," defense attorney Ed Paskey said of the incident.
The allegations: State police said the incident happened about 1:45 p.m. Dec. 8 as PennDOT crews were working to clear snow from Susquehanna Trail near Beck Road in Springfield Township. At the time, that portion of the Trail was closed because of the snowstorm.
Jacobus Fire Chief Shannon Blevins was on duty, with his red emergency lights flashing atop his vehicle, and was traveling south in the northbound lane en route to speak with firefighters about whether the road was clear for a state truck to plow it, documents state.
Followed chief: Hammers was stuck in a line of cars in her Subaru Outback, but pulled out and began following Blevins, police allege.
Blevins stopped and told her she needed to pull over because a PennDOT truck was coming through, and because fire crews were blocking traffic farther up the road, documents state.
"Hammers related she did not have to ... listen to fire police" because her husband is on the borough council, documents allege.
Jacobus Borough Councilman Jeffrey Hammers said Faye Hammers is the wife of his brother, Michael Hammers.
'Revved engine': Blevins was able to get Faye Hammers to move her SUV to the side of the road, but he told police she repeatedly tried to pull back onto the northbound lane, and revved her engine numerous times, police said.
Blevins went back over to the SUV to tell Faye Hammers she needed to wait like all the other drivers, but Hammers put her SUV in reverse and began backing up, police allege. In the process, she ran over Blevins' foot with her tire and her front fender struck Blevins' left thigh, charging documents state.
Story 'evolved': But Blevins' testimony at Thursday's hearing did not reflect what the charging documents allege, attorney Paskey said.
"Mr. Blevins' story has evolved since the time he spoke with the trooper," Paskey said. "He testified under oath ... that she did not run over his foot. And he did not mention that the car hit his leg.
"What he said is that as she was backing up at his instruction, she had her head turned away from him ... and her tire grazed the front or the tip of his boot," Paskey said.
The prosecution's other eyewitness testified Hammers grazed Blevins' boot as Hammers' Outback was going forward. That witness also has a pending charge of making a false report to police, for an unrelated incident, Paskey confirmed.
"Based on what I heard, I think impatience and emotions came into play," he said. "But at no time was (Blevins') safety jeopardized."
Paskey said he hopes to talk with prosecutors about the case, "to see what is appropriate, under the circumstances."
Hammers, 61, of North Pleasant Avenue, remains free on unsecured bail.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.