PRESS RELEASE: City Honors Two Citizens for Exceptional Service to Their Community

Bethlehem, PA
05 April 2012

Frank Pavlick’s Bicycle

On 02 April 2012 at approximately 3:06 p.m., expert cyclist Frank Pavlick was struck from behind while riding across the Fahy Bridge.  Mr. Pavlick was hit by a seventeen year old juvenile who was attempting to pass a LANTA bus.  Immediately following the impact, the juvenile attempted to flee the scene to avoid identification and apprehension.  The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away.  Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action and positioned his bus across the lanes of the bridge, effectively blocking the path of the getaway driver.  Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate.  Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape.

Offending Vehicle Showing Damage to Hood
The next vehicle across the bridge was a marked Bethlehem Police car being operated by veteran Officer Wade Haubert.  Officer Haubert stopped at Mr. Pavlick to render aid, and learning that he was not seriously injured, proceeded to take the offending juvenile into custody.

The quick and selfless actions by Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull brought this potentially tragic situation to a very positive conclusion.  Without their decisive actions, the offending driver may not have been apprehended.  We would like to thank Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull for their selfless dedication to their community and for acting to help another in a time of need.

The incident was captured on the City’s wireless camera system
The video is also available on YouTube: http://ow.ly/a8vZd
The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways.  The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash.  The section is, in pertinent part:
§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.
In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
  • § 3742(a) – Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
  • § 3334(a) – Turning Movements and Required Signals

UPDATE:
The charge “Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury” is the charge that covers what is commonly referred to as “Hit and Run” and it also covers the duty of every driver to stop and render aid when a person is injured in an accident.

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19 thoughts on “PRESS RELEASE: City Honors Two Citizens for Exceptional Service to Their Community

  1. Good work by the named citizens, especially the bus driver. I have no idea how he could see all that in his rearview mirrors.I also hope the suspect will be charged with hit and run. The video evidence looks pretty conclusive.

  2. The charge entitled "Accidents involving Death or Personal Injury" id the section commonly referred to as "Hit and Run". It dictates the responsibilities of a motorist when they are involved in any accident involving an injury.

  3. Could you please post the missing footage from 3:06:27 to 3:06:33 looking at the back of the bus? I'd like to see the circumstances under which the driver merged back into the right lane and struck the cyclist.

  4. Jason, there really is no "missing" footage during the times you posted. All of the video footage from this incident was captured by the same camera. Our video cameras are all PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom). They are programmed to alternate between several pre-defined areas. This particular camera has five pre-set positions that it continually scans between. All of the cameras can also be operated through our Communications Specialists in our 9-1-1 Center. The missing footage is when the camera is repositining itself between a view facing south and a view facing north. It was fortunate that the camera happened to catch the actual crash. In earlier frames, the offending vehicle can be seen making a lane change to attempt to pass the bus on the left. Through witness accounts, and the video footage, the entire story gets put together. The offending driver's path gets blocked by the bus and he then changes lanes back to the right to go around the bus. That is when he strikes the cyclist from behind.

  5. This reflects so well on the City of Bethlehem. As a former resident of Bucks county, I know how fantastic the riding in the area is. To see that the local residents value and respect cyclists only makes this part of Eastern PA a more desirable place to vacation and live. Great work by the individuals, but also great work by a township in publicizing how much they value someone on a bicycle. I'll certainly visit and spend some tourist dollars next time I'm riding in the Delaware Valley.

  6. Excellent work by all involved and kudos to PA for passing this important legislation. Hopefully the young driver takes the lesson to heart and uses better caution, and shows greater personal responsibility, in the future.

  7. I am truly impressed with the quick thinking and selfless actions of Mr. Gubish, Mr. Smull, and Officer Haubert in what could have been a tragic situation. Kudos also to the Bethlehem Police Department for their willingness to publicize and support the heroism of those individuals and for their obvious interest in helping to protect vulnerable road users, such as Mr. Pavlick. As an avid bicyclist myself, I am sadly aware of how often authorities will blame the victim in this type of situation. Great news that Mr. Pavlick wasn't badly hurt and also that the bad guy got caught. I only wish this was a more typical outcome.

  8. As a avid bike person, I hope Mr. Gubish, Mr. Smull, Officer Haubert and the rest of the Bethlehem Police Dept realize how happy thousands of people who ride bikes are too not only see how the incident was handled, but how public the event has been made. It's sets an outstanding precedent that will hopefully help keep all road users safe.

  9. Really very fortunate the actual crash was captured on video, well done PTZ! :)I hope the rider is alright. I'm going to be riding through this area this coming summer, on a cross-country bike trip. My biggest worry is being hit by a motorist. What is sad is that I am a brother, a son, an uncle, a friend…and if this kid hit me and took off, I might die from my injuries, and all those people who love and know me would suffer….all because of a cowardly act based on impatience. Wow. Very impressed with your law enforcement there. Blessings!http://tr4f.wordpress.com

  10. Kudos from a cyclist in Washington, D.C. Special thanks to Mr. Gubish for his quick action and to the Bethlehem PD for publicizing this.

  11. Pingback: Spirit civic intr-un accident cu bicicleta | Gabriel Solomon

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