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Pennsylvania man strikes trash collector, stages wreck as coverup

February 16, 2017, Old Forge, PA — The Old Forge man accused of striking a Scranton refuse collector with his car and fleeing pleaded guilty to several charges.

Maxwell Materazzi-Hatala, now 25, told investigators he was at an all-night drinking party just a few hours before the Nov. 28, 2015, crash. He later staged a crash to explain the damage to his car.

On Friday, Materazzi-Hatala pleaded guilty to six crimes, including accidents involving death or serious bodily injury and insurance fraud and filing a false claim, both felonies, and false reports to law enforcement.

The defendant faces a maximum of nearly 17 years in prison and more than $35,000 in fines, Deputy District Attorney Brian Gallagher said. He is free on $25,000 bail; his sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

The hit-and-run crash seriously injured city Department of Public Works employee Steven Pierson.

Pierson, of Scranton, was collecting trash in the 700 block of South Main Avenue just before 6 a.m. when Materazzi-Hatala’s 2001 black Toyota Camry hit him.

Mr. Pierson suffered “horrific, life-altering injuries” to both legs, requiring major surgery and skin grafts, Gallagher said.

Police took Materazzi-Hatala into custody a few days after the collision, after he falsely reported to Old Forge authorities that his Camry was damaged in a collision with a transport trailer on Connell Street in the borough.

Materazzi-Hatala told police he was at an all-night drinking party at a private residence until 3:30 a.m. Nov. 28, according to the criminal complaint.

Materazzi-Hatala left the party and was driving around when he hit the garbage truck on South Main Avenue, the complaint said. He fled the scene and drove to Connell Street, where he hid the Camry behind a tractor-trailer.

He admitted to staging the crash on Connell Street, reporting it to borough police and filing an insurance claim, the complaint said.

In the area of the fictitious crash, officers found pieces of a headlamp that appeared to have been thrown on the ground, including plastic pieces with blood on them, police said. Investigators also concluded the heavy front-end damage to the Camry was inconsistent with having hit the transport trailer.

Source: The Times-Tribune

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