The Schuylkill League Basketball Playoffs are supposed to be intense, but this is just a tad too over the top. Following a hard fought boy’s championship game between North Schuylkill and Williams Valley on Friday night where one player was ejected and fans heckled the officiating crew for four full quarters, Magisterial District Justice David A. Plachko, a referee in the contest, reportedly attacked a Williams Valley parent outside of Martz Hall.
According to the victim and two eyewitnesses, Plachko allegedly threw Doug Thompson, owner of Thompson’s Service Station in Wiconsico, onto the hood of a parked vehicle and needed to be restrained by a fellow official. The SUV belonged to Pottsville Republican and Herald sports reporter, Dustin Haluska, which reportedly suffered a large dent.
“He slammed on the breaks of his car, jumped out, and came at me screaming profanities,” said Thompson, who admitted to shouting at Plachko as he drove by. “He then put his hands on me, threw me against a vehicle, and snarled ‘you Williams valley fans are all the same, you’re all nuts’. Thank goodness for the other referee who pealed him off of me.”
Thompson said that he did not realize that his attacker was a Schuylkill County magistrate. “It was only after someone said ‘I can’t believe a JP would act like that’ that I found out he was a district justice.”
After the altercation was broke up, Plachko reportedly drove away before police arrived. He was seen by Clarke Report sources at Club 18 shortly after the game. Pottsville Police Corporal Dennis Wiederhold, the investigating officer, arrived at the scene minutes later. After taking Thompson and other eyewitness statements, Plachko reportedly returned to the Martz Hall parking lot.
“Cpl. Wiederhold went over to his [Plachko’s] car, talked to him for a bit, and then came back over to me and said that ‘Judge Plachko wants to apologize and leave it at that,” Thompson stated. “But that was unacceptable to me. If I had done the same thing to him, I would be sitting in jail right now.”
Thompson said that he insisted that charges be filed. “I was contacted Sunday by the police, who said that they would be charging him with simple assault and harassment,” said Thompson.
Plachko, a Port Carbon democrat, will be seeking another term in office in November. He is the second Schuylkill County magistrate to find himself in legal trouble recently. Pottsville District Justice James K. Reiley was charged with two counts of DUI in September after he smashed into a parked vehicle and blew a .27% on a breathalyzer. Reiley was admitted to and completed an ARD program and was permitted to remain on the bench.