RIDGWAY--While an unrelated police chase was taking place in Ridgway on Monday morning at 9 a.m., a different drama played out at the Elk County Courthouse on Main Street.
Fifty-eight Elk County residents were called up for jury selection in the came of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James Edward Skundrich, 55, of Sigel PA. Out of the fifty-eight that were called for jury selection on three failed to show by the 9 a.m. time, but there were plenty of prospective jurors that could have been selected for Skundrich's requested trial on this fourth DAI (DUI) charge from November of 2019.
Skundrich has a lengthy criminal history stretching back ten years to 2011 where he picked up his first DUI charges in Alleghany County. Other DUI charges stemmed from both Butler and Alleghany counties, along with an assortment of terroristic threats, drug paraphernalia, over a dozen summary traffic offenses, resisting arrest, providing false information to law enforcement, and driving without insurance while his license was suspended. Liberty Bail Bonds of Pittsburgh is still seeking Skundrich for his failure to appear at a sentencing hearing for his third DUI.
Jury Selection was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., and while the potential jurors were present, Skundrich was not. By 10:30 a.m. District Attorney Tom Coppolo and Public Defender Gary Knaresboro entered into chambers with President Judge Shawn T. McMahon to discuss the absence. Knaresboro attempted to contact the defendant several times by phone to no avail. It is absolutely certain that Skundrich knew the date and time of the hearing as he appeared last Monday, October 4, and requested a jury trial during Return Day proceedings.
Judge McMahon issued a bench warrant for Skundrich and revoked his bail. He will be remanded to the Elk County Prison when caught and brought up on additional charges. Judge McMahon, at 11 a.m. released the potential jurors for the day, apologizing for the inconvenience of the process, and thanking them for their patience while the legal matters were concluded.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of James Edward Skundrich, they are requested to call their local law enforcement agency or the Elk County Sheriff's office at (814) 776-5353.