Dallastown man avoids prison for colliding with justice
Some people clash with the criminal justice system, but one Dallastown man crashed into it.
York City Police said Trevor Neff ran a red light last summer and collided with a car driven by York County Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook.
It happened about 1 p.m. Aug. 2 at the intersection of South Duke and East South streets in York City, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellott.
Neff was driving his Pontiac Grand Am east when he ran a red light at the intersection, colliding with a northbound Nissan Altima driven by Musti Cook, Mellott told presiding Senior Common Pleas Judge Lawrence F. Clark Jr.
Hit and run: The Nissan "T-boned" Neff's Pontiac, court documents state, after which Neff fled the scene, Mellott said.
"Judge Cook did have some minor pain as a result, but nothing that would result in more serious charges being filed," he said.
Neff told police he fled the scene because he was scared, according to Mellott, who said Neff had a valid driver's licence and insurance.
Neff told police he drove to the corner of Miller Lane and Vine Alley, left his car there and walked to work, Mellott said.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Neff pleaded guilty to causing an accident involving an attended vehicle.
Clark sentenced Neff to a year of probation and 75 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a total of $18,509.83 in restitution to Cook and her insurance carrier. Those were all part of the plea agreement.
Extra fine: The judge then imposed a $1,000 fine that had not been part of the agreement, but which Neff apparently accepted.
"It surprised me somewhat," said Mellott. "I can understand why the judge did that. He thought it was a way to hold the defendant accountable for what he did. It's not something I asked for."
In another unusual move, the senior judge ordered Neff to perform his community service at his local fire department and told him to talk to firefighters about their experiences.
"(Perhaps that will) give you a deeper appreciation for your responsibilities as a citizen," Clark told Neff.
Mellott said picking a defendant's community service is within a judge's discretion, "but I've never seen that happen before either."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.