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PA: Probation for hunter in shooting

October 27, 2010

Probation for hunter in shooting Man, who believed target was turkey not boy, pleads to causing injury with shot, not rendering aid.

WILKES-BARRE – A Shickshinny man who believed he was shooting at a turkey but instead struck a 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to related charges Tuesday and was sentenced to two years probation.

Gary Alan Savidge, 45, of Town Hill Road, pleaded guilty to charges of shooting at and causing someone injury and failing to render assistance. He was immediately sentenced by Luzerne County Judge Joseph Van Jura to two years probation.

Savidge was ordered to have no contact with the boy and to forfeit any hunting licenses for a period of 10 years. Van Jura also told Savidge to avoid drugs and alcohol and to pay $134 in costs to the state police.

Savidge was represented by attorney Vito Deluca. First Assistant District Attorney Jeff Tokach prosecuted the case.

According to court papers, on Nov. 21, 2009, Andrew Stola was shot in the abdomen by Savidge, who was hunting in an area where Stola and his father were hunting with traps in Huntington Township.

Before being flown to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, the boy told state police that he did not see anyone and no one came to his aid.

Savidge was in the area hunting turkeys and fired a round from a .308 caliber rifle that had a scope. Wildlife Conservation officers said in their complaint that Savidge was approximately 205 feet away from the boy when he fired the shot.

Wildlife Conservation officers said the single gunshot wound was serious and life-threatening. The boy recovered shortly after the shooting and returned to school.

Savidge left the area after hearing someone shout from the direction in which he fired the shot, believing it was someone yelling at him for the shooting, the criminal complaint says.

He returned to the area later in the day and approached an officer saying, “I think you are looking for me,” police said.

In May, Stola was awarded $300,000 in a settlement of a lawsuit against Savidge.

Stola’s attorney, Richard Russo, of Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald in Wilkes-Barre, reached a settlement with Savidge’s homeowner’s insurance provider, Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance.

The settlement was approved by county Judge Lewis Wetzel.

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