Criminal Justice

Judge faces obstruction charge after claimed hit-and-run accident

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A Pennsylvania magistrate judge is facing an unusual obstruction charge after allegedly sideswiping an oncoming vehicle last month and leaving the scene of the accident before police arrived.

Blairsville Magisterial District Judge Jennifer Rega is also charged with careless driving, an accident involving damage and summary offenses, according to the Associated Press and WXPI.

Her lawyer, Robert Muir, tells the station he has never seen a defendant in a hit-and-run case charged with obstruction. “Frankly this incident occurred during an off-duty time and doesn’t relate to Judge Rega’s performance as a judge,” Muir said. “She has an impeccable reputation.”

The accident occurred Sept. 13 in Cherry Hill Township.

A state police affidavit says the 41-year-old Rega hit the mirror of another vehicle after crossing the center line. When Rega didn’t stop the other driver followed her, and says the judge swerved out of her lane several times, reports the Tribune-Review.

After Rega finally stopped, the other driver “observed fresh damage to the defendant’s vehicle, and a strong odor of alcoholic beverages emanating from the defendant,” the affidavit states. Then the judge allegedly drove off again, but police found her vehicle at her home based on a license plate number provided by the other driver.

No one was hurt.

The judge is on administrative leave from her approximately $87,000-a-year job.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. to include information from Tribune-Review article.

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