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 Post subject: Miner gets house arrest, probation
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:23 am 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
Miner gets house arrest, probation

By Peter E. Bortner
Pottsville Republican & Herald
November 24, 2009

The Tremont man who detonated a fatal explosion in October 2006 in a Tremont Township coal mine will spend a month on house arrest, and five more on probation, after being resentenced Monday in Schuylkill County Court following a parole violation.

Jeffrey T. Klinger, 43, will spend the month on house arrest, which includes electronic monitoring, beginning Dec. 3, Judge Jacqueline L. Russell ruled in imposing the sentence. In addition to the house arrest and probation, Russell also sentenced Klinger to perform 40 hours community service.

"There's no question he violated the terms of his probation," Russell said. "I find that unconstrained supervision is not appropriate."

Klinger, who said nothing to Russell during the hearing, pleaded guilty on Sept. 16 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 placed him on probation for 60 days.

Russell revoked Klinger's probation on Nov. 9 after the miner had been charged with driving under the influence in a separate case. That case is still pending.

However, she rejected Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn A. Parno's request that Klinger be sent to prison for 30 to 60 days, saying the minor nature of the underlying offenses - the two mining violations - did not justify a prison term.

"I have to be cognizant of the fact that our jail is overcrowded," she said.

While Russell did not send Klinger to prison, she laid down strict conditions for him to follow while he is on house arrest and probation, including that he neither drink nor possess alcohol and that he not enter any business whose primary function is selling alcohol.

"Don't go to any bars. Don't go to a friend's house and drink alcohol," she said. "You want to stay out of trouble. You don't want to drink any alcohol."

Klinger was one of three people charged in connection with the Oct. 23, 2006, explosion at R&D Coal Co., Tremont Township, in which Dale Reightler, 43, of Donaldson, was killed.

Mine owner David P. Zimmerman, 53, and foreman Steven D. Zimmerman, 34, both of Pine Grove, who are father and son, pleaded no contest on Oct. 1 to involuntary manslaughter and guilty to recklessly endangering another person and three violations of the Anthracite Coal Mining Act.

On Nov. 4, 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.

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