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 Post subject: Mine owner, foreman, sentenced in miner's death
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:58 am 
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Mine owner, foreman, sentenced in miner's death

by Peter E. Bortner
Pottsville Republican & Herald
November 5, 2009

The father and son who owned and operated the coal mine where a Donaldson man died in October 2006 will spend time under house arrest and in prison, respectively, after being sentenced Wednesday in Schuylkill County Court.

However, the sentences imposed on David P. Zimmerman, 53, and Steven D. Zimmerman, 34, both of Pine Grove, while they broke new legal ground in Pennsylvania, brought no real relief to a somber Dorothy Reightler, the widow of Dale Reightler, 43.

"I go home every night and my husband's not there," she told Judge Jacqueline L. Russell. "Their punishment is nothing compared to what we've been through."

Russell sentenced David Zimmerman to spend six months on house arrest and 17 months on probation, and Steven Zimmerman to spend three to 23 months in prison, with eligibility for work release and continuation of drug treatment. She also ordered each man to pay costs, a $1,000 fine and $50 to the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account, and perform 20 hours of community service.

David Zimmerman and Steven Zimmerman each pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and guilty to recklessly endangering another person and three violations of the Anthracite Coal Mining Act. They, their lawyers and prosecutors agreed to the sentences before the hearing.

By pleading no contest to the involuntary manslaughter charge, the Zimmermans did not admit committing that crime, but offered no defense to it, agreed prosecutors had enough evidence to prove them guilty of it and agreed to be sentenced as if they had pleaded or been found guilty.

Wednesday's hearing represented the first time sentences had been imposed in a Pennsylvania case for manslaughter charges stemming from a fatal mine accident, Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn A. Parno said.

"We're pleased that these individuals were held accountable for Dale's death," Parno said after the 30-minute hearing. "It was a long road, and we're pleased that it has finally come to a conclusion."

Neither of the Zimmermans apologized or said anything else during the hearing or while leaving the courtroom.

"I was somewhat surprised" they did not apologize, Parno said.

However, Assistant Public Defender Lora J. McDonald, Steven Zimmerman's lawyer, said her client is remorseful.

"He has asked me to express ... how sorry he is," McDonald told Russell.

That did not seem to matter to the Reightler family.

"No matter what happens ... it doesn't change anything," Dorothy Reightler said. "He doesn't come back."

David Zimmerman was the owner of, and Steven Zimmerman a foreman at, the R&D Coal Co. Buck Mountain Mine, Tremont Township, where an explosion on Oct. 23, 2006, killed Dale Reightler.

Methane gas ignited in the mine, which was located off Molleystown Road about a mile from Joliett, thereby causing the explosion, prosecutors said.

In April 2008, a state grand jury indicted the Zimmermans, and a third man, Jeffrey T. Klinger, 43, of Tremont, on charges stemming from Reightler's death.

On Sept. 16, Klinger pleaded guilty to blasting coal or rock without first obtaining a certificate to mine, as well as storing explosives or detonators in the direct line of blasting. Russell sentenced him to 60 days probation.

Parno said the mine has been closed and sealed.

Dorothy Reightler filed a lawsuit on Oct. 21, 2008, in the county court against the Zimmermans and numerous other defendants. That lawsuit is still active.

McDonald declined to comment after the hearing, and Jeffrey M. Markosky, Mahanoy City, David Zimmerman's lawyer, also left without saying anything.

Parno said that while the sentence represents justice to some extent, it does not do so completely.

"I think Dorothy said it all," Parno said. "No matter how this was resolved, it's not going to bring back Dale."Defendant: David P. Zimmerman

Age: 53

Hometown: Pine Grove

Plea: No contest to involuntary manslaughter and guilty to recklessly endangering another person and three violations of the Anthracite Coal Mining Act

Sentence: Six months on house arrest and 17 months on probation

Defendant: Steven D. Zimmerman

Age: 34

Hometown: Pine Grove

Plea: No contest to involuntary manslaughter and guilty to recklessly endangering another person and three violations of the Anthracite Coal Mining Act

Sentence: Three to 23 months in prison

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:08 am 
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I'm certain that there is much information that has not come out in this matter.

It may be that the Zimmerman's were horrible negligent and the victim had no responsibility. It may also be that this was a witch hunt.


My thoughts tend to be closer to a witch hunt. And the next step may well be a civil suit, complete with a request large sums of money.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:42 am 
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Anyone have details of the accident?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
aecminer wrote:
Anyone have details of the accident?


http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/viewtopic.php?t=981
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... php?t=1851
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... php?t=2421
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=19426
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=19796
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=19843
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=19844
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20220
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20271
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20315
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20434
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20635
http://www.ironminers.com/mineforum/vie ... hp?t=20655

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:21 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
aecminer wrote:
Anyone have details of the accident?



http://www.msha.gov/FATALS/2006/FTL06c42.asp


A lot of details, but I don't think it answers nearly all of the questions.

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