A local school board member is facing criminal charges for hindering apprehension or prosecution after she allegedly lied to law enforcement authorities regarding the whereabouts of her grandson who was wanted on a warrant.
Sondra Stine, 74, of Hop Bottom, was charged with four misdemeanor counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution in a case filed in Clifford District Court by Pennsylvania State Police Sgt. Michael Joyce.
According to the affidavit, Susquehanna County detectives received a tip that a wanted man, Benjamin Stine IV, was staying at a residence in Hop Bottom Borough. Benjamin Stine was wanted by the Putnam County, N.Y., Probation Department for a felony weapon charge. He was known to be driving a green Jeep Liberty with a Pennsylvania registration plate and that vehicle was parked in the driveway of a Forest Street residence on July 11.
State Police were asked to assist county detectives and Sheriff deputies in serving the warrant, according to the affidavit.
Susquehanna County Sheriff Lance Benedict called the residence about 9:40 a.m. and spoke with Sondra Stine who told him the last time she saw her grandson was “a couple of weeks ago.” She also told the sheriff that she did not know what kind of vehicle Benjamin Stine was driving.
Sondra Stine gave the sheriff verbal consent to search the residence and he related that he would be there in an hour.
According to the affidavit, at about 9:43 a.m., county detectives observed Benjamin Stine IC exit the home through an open garage door, running to get into the Jeep. The detective was driving an unmarked vehicle, activated the emergency lights and pulled to the top of the street facing Benjamin Stine’s Jeep. Benjamin Stine then turned left and fled north on Route 11.
The detective pursued Benjamin Stine with emergency lights and sirens activated at speeds that reached over 100 mph.
According to the affidavit, PSP had pre-deployed spike strips on the roadway, just south of Wright Road. The Jeep struck the spike strips, continued traveling north, and Benjamin Stine attempted to turn onto Wright Road but got stuck in a dirt embankment.
He then fled on foot into the woods and was apprehended about 150 yards in by the detective and a trooper.
According to the affidavit, a search of Benjamin Stine yielded a glass multicolored smoking device with suspected marijuana in it; and a pocket knife on the waistband of his shorts.
After being Mirandized, Benjamin Stine told investigators that he had been staying at his grandmother’s house for the two nights prior to July 11. He told authorities he had been living with “everyone else” in the house and that all in the household, including Sondra Stine, knew he was there, according to the affidavit.
Benjamin Stine told the investigators the original charge he was wanted on in New York stemmed from being caught with a gun in Putnam County during a traffic stop.
According to the affidavit, Sondra Stine was interviewed by investigators and related her son had told her that Benjamin Stine IV was wanted. She also said she told her grandson that the sheriff was coming and that he then left the residence.
Sondra Stine is scheduled to appear in Clifford District Court on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Benjamin Stine IV waived his July 16 preliminary hearing. He was scheduled to be formally arraigned on July 23 in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas.
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