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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, April 06, 2012

LANTA Bus Driver & LHS Senior Helped Nab Hit-and-Run Driver

Cyclist Frank Pavlick, Jud Smull and Richard Gubish
What sets Bethlehem apart from other other communities, according to Mayor John Callahan, is the willingness of its citizens to get involved, whether it's as volunteers in festivals or participants in public meetings. On April 5, he singled out two area citizens who demonstrate that, in Christmas City, "people do rally care about each other."

Callahan, along with Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer, honored two citizens who helped veteran Officer Wade Haubert apprehend a hit-and-run juvenile driver, who had just rammed into the rear of a bicycle being ridden across the Fahy bridge by Frank Pavlick on April 2.

LANTA bus driver Richard Gubish with proud parents
Right after striking Pavlick, the juvenile attempted to get away. But LANTA bus operator Richard Gubish, Jr., who saw the crash in his rear view mirror, pulled his bus across both lanes, stopping the juvenile. "There's no getting around a bus," Gubish laughed.

At the same time, Liberty High School Senior and class valedictorian Judson Smull, was on his way to Lehigh after track practice. He stopping to help Pavlick, who urged him to get the license plate of the offending vehicle.

Pavlick suffered minor injuries, although he said they don't feel so minor a few days later.

LHS Senior Jud Smull, with mom and dad
Smull did one better. He trapped the hit-and-run vehicle behind the bus, making escape impossible. Office Haubert quickly took the juvenile into custody, charging him under a new bike safety law that went into effect that very day. It requires anyone passing a bicycle to do so on the left, keeping a buffer distance of at least four feet away.

Haubert also charged the hit-and-run driver with failure to use signals, and fleeing an accident that involved bodily injury.

"This is a bike friendly community," Mayor Callahan said, stressing that "there are people out there every day," riding their bikes to work. In addition to commending Gubish and Smull, the Mayor reminded everyone that "we need to share the road."

There is a shared bicycle lane on the Fahy bridge, where the accident occurred, marked with chevrons. A video of the accident, captured by the City's wireless camera system, has been posted on YouTube by Bethlehem police.

After awarding Gubish and Smull with proclamations, Callahan joked with Smull not to let this go to his head and lose his valedictorian status. Smull will matriculate with Lehigh University this Fall.

In addition to driving a LANTA bus, you might find Gubish delivering pizzas. His family operates the Little Caesar's pizza franchise on Eastn Avenue, north of Liberty High School.


Simon Wheldon said...

good for these citizens!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WH needs all the help he can get. He is usually too busy being a greedy union thug to do his real job.

Doc Rock said...

Terrific story and terrific people!

Have to love all the Lehigh University connections, too!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You can see the impatience of the punk driver to get around the lumbering bus. We've all seen it a hundred times and wished the idiot would get his. Chalk one up for the good guys. Good for the driver and the kid.

Anonymous said...


Monkey Momma said...

Good for the driver and that Senior - they are good people.

But I have to say, biking on the Fahy bridge looks like a death wish. The video really made an impression on me, in that it clearly shows how dangerous it is to bike that bridge.

Anonymous said...

Yes your right, anyone who would ride a bike here has a death wish!

Anonymous said...

Not that the guy deserved to get hit but see how he was taking up the whole lane and even riding towards the center line. Why not ride closer to the shoulder. These are the kind of bicyclists that annoy drivers. Just like the ones that ride double file with no regards for motorists.

PippySqueek said...

I also hope they confiscated the perp's cell phone to check to see if he was texting and driving at the same time during the accident. Needs extra added charges for stupidity.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of problems with this video that are getting glossed over in this alleged tale of bravery.

1. The bicyclist appears to make little attempt to stay to the right of the lane. I get that he doesn't "have" to but yes, you are bicycling on a bridge with narrow driving lanes. It is incumbent upon him to use proper judgement and not ride the center line.

2. The bus driver playing hero swings the bus outside his travel lane to stop the driver. If there are passengers on his bus, he's putting the lives of the hit and run driver and the bus passengers at risk, not to mention some expensive LANta property. It's not his job to play hero or catch criminals. It's to drive a bus.

This story takes on a far different tone if bus driver causes an accident where somebody gets seriously injured.

Anonymous said...

Agree. Until we make separate bicycle lanes, cyclists operating in the manner of this one are a hazard. That being said, a motorcyclist would have been hit the same way by the speeding idiot. We need lanes to accommodate bicycles before extending protections that are dangerous without lanes. It's doubtful that bridge can be made safe for bicycles without closing an entire auto lane.

The remarks about the LANTA driver are also true. While this story ended well, he may have put his passengers lives and his company's assets at risk. The 17-year old had the license plate number and the video is damning.

The driver made an honest mistake. The 17-year old is an outstanding citizen. His parents should be very proud.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you someone who enjoys biking too? The problem with the Fahy Bridge...It's too confined. Who will win between a car and a biker? Is it worth the risk?

Anonymous said...

Cyclist does appear to say he's more important than others. Why does he have to be so far out in the lane. Did he prove his point?

Andrew Bench said...

@ 8:31. I want to start of by saying I am a car commuter who rarely bikes.

Bicycles are permitted by law to use the whole lane on the Fayhe bridge and anyone who would try to pass one in a single lane would be driving recklessly in any event and also in violation of state law. So, that's the first part of what I want to say.

Second part is that we should be praising bike commuters for cutting down wear on our roads, helping to ease traffic constrictions on US 22 and other roads, reducing pollution, and decreasing health care costs by staying active. We all talk about these problems all the time. These are people (bikers) who do something every day to make a difference. If we all did it, our community would be better for it.

So, next time you get stuck behind a bike commuter, remember, they are doing something to help out the community. Give em the benefit of the doubt and be safe because they are the one who dies because you can't wait 30-seconds to pass safely.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I love riding a bicycle and am finally fit enough to do it to commute to and from work. I cannot do t unless the temps are 70 or higher bc my hands and feet freeze. In previous years, I would ride to and from work every day and have crossed the Fahy Bridge numerous times.

Let me state, first of all, that I consider riding on the roads to be much safer than riding on bike paths or trails. Those are not engineered and often have blind spots making them dangerous.

Second, let me point out that the cyclist is in a shared bike lane. I believe he could have been a little farther to the right, but many cyclists consider that dangerous because that is where the debris and broken glass tend to accumulate.

Third, this is a shared bike lane, meaning that both cyclists and motorists are put on notice as to its intended use. But it also exemplifies what I consider to be a problem with these shared lanes. They tend to create a false sense of security in cyclists and motorists ignore them. I personally would prefer to ride on regular roads, with no special designations for bikes. I would go as far to the right as I can safely.

The cyclist in question is much more experienced than I am, and I suspect he was doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

The bus driver deliberately drove his bus out of his driving lane and almost caused an accident. How is it he isn't cited for at least three motor vehicle violations?

If I drive my truck like that I'm not only getting a ticket, but I'm fired within ten minutes getting back to the company. I can't imagine LANta being happy that one of their bus drivers decided to veer a bus full of passengers like that.

As another person stated, it's not his job to be a cop.

Anonymous said...

The bus driver was irresponsible and should be sued by any passengers on the bus. This was nothing but a Callahan publicity stunt.

He got his name in the paper again. The guy is all about politcs.

Anonymous said...

The part of the story that isn't told by the video is that the guy who was hit is the manager of an anti-car group, the day the new bike safety law went into effect. the group's website is: http://www.car-free.org/

and after the crash Pavlick said: "This guy who hit me is going to get educated. But he also needs to be made into an example. Other people need to know." according to the M-call article on this incident.

It just seems too coincidental that he gets hit the day this new law went into effect if you ask me.

If you really want to get into the tin-foil hat stuff, this group supports LANTA too... That is likely looking too far into it though.

Anonymous said...

Great speech, Comrade John.Jay!

Everything is about Progressive Liberalism, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yes it is.

The Utopian Agenda, on every channel (proverbially speaking), all the time.

Blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah.


Mark Baker said...

most cyclist are too arrogant and stupid to be aware of the real rule of life. Car trumps bike every time.

This particular so called cyclist showed his arrogance and stupidity by his self serving comments.

I admit that this kid should get fried for his-her actions.

But the cyclist showed his true colors and his ass. Unfortunately for him his asininity out weighs this entire scenario.

Try being a little more humble and less of a fool.

Doc Rock said...

My goodness! The invective against the cyclist is mindboggling.

The Fahy Bridge, especially with its narrowed northbound lanes due to the "unsafe," closed-down sidewalk, is a challenge for a driver of any type of vehicle. Caution is the only sensible policy.

The cyclist still had the right to use the bridge, and to take a full lane if he so desired.

Any automobile driver who is in such a hurry that they would rather mow down a cyclist rather than take a few seconds to safely pass is someone I don't want on any road.

To blame the cyclist for being struck from behind by someone who then attempted to flee the scene is just dumb.

Just dumb!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well said, Doc Rock.

Anonymous said...

It appears this victim was properly operating his bike. However, it is troubling to see some of the others bikers encroaching on the other lane or driving down the center. It truely limits motorists an ability to have an "out" to avoid a bike pedestrian. How the hell can you give a biker 5 feet when he is driving done near the center lane? A motorist would get pulled over for operating in that fashion.

Seems there should be some minimum standards for reflective or lighting on bikes when on State Roads.

Hopefully this will SPARK some discussion for some shared responsibilities and educate the public.

Anonymous said...

On another note, PennDOT has time and time again put up signs along State roads suggesting there is to be no pedestrian access. This is their out not to put in sidewalks or signals. Will they do the same for bikes? Should we take care of Pedestrian issues that currently exist (bike or foot) before we try stripe every street in a municipality?

Anonymous said...

No excuses for the guy ar 3:06:10. Clearly he is in complete disregard for a motorist right to the road as he makes it virtually impossible for the driver to give him the State mandated buffer.

Anonymous said...

Certainly based on the volume of traffic this bridge has, it would qualify as one lane in each direction according to PennDOT standards. If 4 total lanes is sufficient for 95K vehicles a day on Route 22, then surly two total lanes is sufficient for 8K vehicles per day.

This would also fit in with smart growth strategies of discouraging driving, encourage the use of public transportation, make roads safer by confining traffic to slower speeds, and provide room for a dedicated bike lane. When it comes time to rebuild or RENEW this bridge, they could downsize it to two total lanes to cut back on construction costs. That seems to fit with the logic of some.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No matter how many times your racist comment is posted, it will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the video footage over and over again it seems that the car was two cars behind the bus as it entered the bridge. He then moved into the left passing lane but before he could pass the bus -the bus driver moved into the left lane to pass the bike. The car then quickly moved into the right lane to get around the bus and pass it not knowing the bike rider was there. Oops too late. He hit the bike rider who never had a chance.
Watching the video I did think the bike was a bit much on left side of right lane. The best place to ride on a street that is used heavily, and if no cars are anywhere would be the center of the lane because that is where there is less wear and tear on the road. But if the biker was more on the right side of road the car that hit him would have had more time to see him as he tried to pass the buss on the right side. Maybe it could have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:58. Are you seriously even beginning to defend the car driver in this situation? I'm normally all about finding compromise positions but this is incredibly cut and dried. By law, a bike has the right to utilize a full lane on the bridge. This is important because if a bike rides too far to the right on that bridge people will try to squeeze by in the same lane which is incredibly dangerous. Also, the video clearly shows the driver was acting aggressive and then attempted to flee the scene of the accident. There is no equivalence here. The driver is 100% at fault and bears the full consequences for his actions considering he's not the one who dies by making a mistake.

Tim Blangger said...

I'm thankful Frank, the cyclist, was not seriously injured and thankful for the drivers who made sure the offending driver didn't flee the scene. The cyclist had every right to take the lane. If he had not, and tried to ride an inch or two from the concrete barrier, drivers would have tried to pass him and still keep in their lane, which is a very uncomfortable feeling (for the cyclist). I'm a cyclist and the first thing I thought of when I read these stories was of the other Bethlehem cyclist who died not too long ago on this same bridge -- although I think there were other factors involved (sun glare, age of driver) not present here. I haven't seen anyone mention the new state law -- not exactly applicable here -- that allows drivers to safely cross a double line when passing a cyclist. All of us, drivers and cyclists, need to be careful and use common sense. But cyclists have a right to be on these roads. Consider this: for not wanting to wait what might have been seconds, this driver was willing to risk taking the life or seriously injuring a cyclist. Is it all really worth it? Are we in that much of a hurry that we're willing to kill others to get there faster?

Anonymous said...

11:11. Driver is totally at fault. I'm just saying things could have been different only if. 2:58

Anonymous said...

Einstein rides a Bike in Heavy Traffic, almost gets injured or worse, and gets an award...only in America.

Anonymous said...

This video was featured on CNN this morning.