More Details in Abington Scoutmaster Death
Police: Former Troop 72 Scoutmaster Tom Smerke was in the crosswalk when struck by backhoe
Thomas Smerke, the former Scoutmaster of Troop 72, Overlook Hills, out of Roychester Park, was in the crosswalk when he was struck by a township-operated backhoe in the corner of Parkview and Lycoming avenues on Thursday at about 1:23 p.m., Abington Police Deputy Chief John Livingood said. Smerke, 72, of Allen Lane, died the following day at Abington Memorial Hospital.
“A township backhoe, doing a street repaving project in the area, being used to remove old millings by putting them in a dump truck — it appears that the backhoe accidentally backed over the victim,” Livingood said yesterday. “He didn’t die until the next day.”
According to a Tuesday morning Abington Police press release, John Manzinger, 58, of Glenside, was operating the backhoe.
Manzinger said he had just dumped a bucket-load of material into a dump truck; he said that he went to back away from the dump truck, he looked both ways, didn’t see anything and began to back up. As he was backing through the intersection in a circular manner, he struck Smerke, according to the press release.
Livingood said yesterday that Manzinger is not being charged criminally, though the incident is still under investigation.
The incident happened just blocks from Smerke’s home.