Home News Driver injures 17, kills mom with hammer after plowing into crowd

Driver injures 17, kills mom with hammer after plowing into crowd

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Kevin Carroll

The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The suspect in two fatal attacks in Nescopeck and Berwick on Saturday allegedly told police that he was “frustrated” and “tired of fighting with his mother” after he was taken into custody.

Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, of Nescopeck was arraigned overnight and charged with two counts of criminal homicide after police say he drove his car through a crowd of people at a Berwick fundraiser event, killing one and injuring 17, before killing his mother outside a Ridgewood Avenue residence in Nescopeck.

More details have been released by police a day after Sura Reyes’s arrest, including the names of the two victims: Rebecca L. Reese, who was struck and killed at the Berwick scene, and Rosa Reyes, the mother of Sura Reyes.

According to the criminal complaint:

The initial calls came in to Columbia County 911 around 6:12 p.m. Saturday, concerning a vehicle crashing through group of individuals gathered in the parking lot of Intoxicology Department on W. Second St. in Berwick.

Intoxicology Department, a bar and restaurant, was holding a fundraiser for the victims of the Nescopeck house fire from earlier this month that killed 10.

At the scene, it was determined that one person was dead and 17 others were injured. Geisinger confirmed to the Times Leader late Saturday night that they had received 15 patients from the incident at various facilities. Of those 15, four were in critical condition, three were in fair condition, seven were still being evaluated and one had been treated and released.

A patient transported to nearby Berwick Hospital was treated and released Saturday night, according to a representative from the hospital who spoke with the Times Leader on Sunday morning.

The vehicle involved in the crash, a blue Honda sedan, fled west on Second Street.

Approximately six minutes after the initial calls came in, Luzerne County 911 received a call from a resident of Nescopeck that a vehicle had crashed into his own vehicle, and that a male was assaulting a female with a hammer.

The witness told 911 that after hearing a crash, he went outside and encountered the male, later identified as Sura Reyes, hitting a woman with a hammer.

The witness said that he was told to “get back” by Sura Reyes before going inside to call the police.

Sura Reyes was taken into custody behind 939 Ridgewood Avenue by members of the Salem Township Police Department.

A blue Honda Accord was located at the scene, and the female victim (identified by the Luzerne County Coroner’s office as Rosa D. Reyes) was declared dead on scene.

An autopsy report released Sunday morning determined that Reyes had died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

A hammer was located on the hood of the Honda, and the vehicle had sustained significant front-end damage, including damage to the windshield consistent with that of a pedestrian impact.

Back in Berwick, police were able to obtain surveillance footage of the scene at Intoxicology Department. It was determined that the vehicle seen in the surveillance footage was consistent with the Honda Accord located at the scene of the homicide in Nescopeck.

Footage showed the vehicle entering the parking lot from West Third Street, traveling through the parking lot and accelerating when reaching the pedestrians. The car never stopped, exiting the parking lot onto West Second Street, and eventually making its way onto Market Street and heading into Nescopeck.

The vehicle can be seen striking a minimum of 10 individuals on camera. One victim, Reese, was declared dead at approximately 7:35 p.m. by the Columbia County Coroner’s Office.

Sura Reyes was transported back to the state police barracks in Shickshinny for questioning.

During the interview, Sura Reyes was asked about the incident in Berwick, and according to the police report, he confirmed himself as the one responsible, saying “yeah, that was me.”

He told police that he had a verbal dispute with his mother in Nescopeck, and that he left the home feeling extremely frustrated.

Driving past Intoxicology Department, Sura Reyes told police that he notice the crowd of people, and ended up turning back around to head back to the bar.

Sura Reyes said that he was tired of fighting with his mother, and wanted to be done with it. According to the police report, he told investigators that he sped up as he was driving into the crowd, and told them “I didn’t ram ’em, I just ran them over.”

He then told police that he traveled back to his home in Nescopeck, saw his mother in the street upon returning home and struck her with his vehicle.

Sura Reyes told investigators that he knew there was a hammer in the vehicle, so he retrieved it and struck his mother four of five times.

He denied using any prescription medications, illegal drugs or alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. Investigators did not observe any signs of intoxication during the entirety of his detention and interview.

Sura Reyes was denied bail by Columbia County magistrate Doug Brewer and lodged at the Columbia County Correctional Facility to await a preliminary hearing.

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