Poconos Coal

Former Carbon County police officer sentenced for fatal crash

Former Carbon County police officer sentenced

From a servant of the law, to serving time.

A former Carbon County police officer has learned his fate after killing a woman during a high speed chase.

On Wednesday, a judge imposed a three to 23 month sentence for former Nesquehoning officer Steven Homanko on a felony charge of vehicular homicide. Homanko pleaded guilty in September. Homanko was also ordered to two years of probation for the reckless endangerment charge.

But there's a chance Homanko could be out of jail after a month and a half. A warden could grant Homanko house arrest or work release. Homanko has a job interview Saturday, just hours before he'll start his sentence.

"A slap on the wrist," said Michael Sauers, the husband of the woman killed in the 2014 wreck.

Michael Sauers spent months in the hospital. His wife Carola, 69, was killed.

Investigators say Homanko was driving 113 miles per hour in a pursuit for a traffic violation when he slammed into the Sauers. According to prosecutors, Homanko was seen driving 80-100 mph and almost hit another car head on, about 10 minutes before the fatal wreck. Investigator say Homanko did not have on his lights or siren.

"I think it sends the wrong message, certainly to me and my family," Sauers said.

Sauers is now having second thoughts about the open plea agreement. .

"Going to trial couldn't have been any worse than this, a month and a half, really," Sauers said.

Prosecutors hoped and argued for a stiffer sentence too, but say the guilty plea left sentencing all up to a judge. Trial would have put it in the hands of a jury.

"Frankly, going to trial, the only thing the commonwealth would have risked was an acquittal," said Anthony Forray, with the Pa. Attorney General's Office.

In the courtroom, Homanko offered to help out at the library Sauers built in his wife's memory.

"I really am not interested in that offer at all. I don't want him anywhere near me, or the library, or my family. Those are all hollow words," Sauers said.

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