WILKES-BARRE — A city man on Friday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter after being accused of falling asleep behind the wheel and causing a deadly two-vehicle crash in the Back Mountain that killed a Wyoming County man last year.
Adam Zawatsky, 23, pleaded to a single count of manslaughter and saw other traffic offenses withdrawn against him. Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough accepted the plea and set sentencing for May 12.
According to prosecutors, Zawatsky had been driving southbound on state Route 309 near the Dallas Mobile Home Park the afternoon of April 6, 2016, when he swerved across the center line and collided with a northbound Saturn sedan driven by Joseph Gianuzzi, of Falls Township. Gianuzzi, 57, died at the scene.
Zawatsky, who appeared “shaken up,” initially claimed Gianuzzi’s car had crossed into his lane and he unsuccessfully tried to avoid it, according to prosecutors.
But witnesses reported it was Zawatsky’s car that crossed the center line, prosecutors said.
Accident reconstruction determined Zawatsky’s car swerved across the line and that both vehicles swerved at the last moment in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid impact.
At least one witness reported hearing Zawatsky say he had fallen asleep at the wheel right before the crash, according to prosecutors.
Zawatsky remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail pending sentencing.
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