December 17th, 2014
Robert L. Worthington, 48, of Kittatiny was arrested Monday afternoon after he assaulted two Schuylkill County deputies near a field east of County Highway K in Rumphannock.
Worthington was found by Officers Roland Smithers Jr. and Susan Smithers distraught, intoxicated and carrying a .22-caliber bolt-action rifle that he had fired three times. After dropping the rifle and appearing to submit, Worthington attacked both officers and was tased by Susan Smithers in the ensuing struggle.
Worthington was arrested immediately and taken to Susquehanna County Jail, where he was booked and processed. He is facing charges of public intoxication, trespassing, two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, and reckless use of a deadly weapon. Worthington was held overnight before his bail hearing on Tuesday morning.
Smithers Jr. responded to a 911 call of shots fired from the owner of the property on East Cussville Road, farmer Clem Kadiddlehopper, shortly after 3 p.m. Kadiddlehopper warned Smithers Jr. of an armed man in the cornfield behind his barn and the deputy called for backup. His wife Susan arrived five minutes later and the pair approached the field. Upon hearing a rifle shot, they took cover inside the barn and demanded that the suspect drop his weapon and exit the field with his hands up. It was then that Worthington emerged and subsequently attacked Mr. and Mrs. Smithers.
Worthington told the deputies he was shooting bottles in the field and “was just all worked up over all this crap going on,” referring to his impending divorce as well as the loss of his job at Susquehanna Steel Corp., but made it clear that he didn’t intend to hurt anyone. His pickup truck was found on the shoulder of Cussville Road approximately a quarter mile east of the field.
Susquenna County Sheriff Percival Quackenbush said that the county is usually prohibited from hiring spouses like Mr. and Mrs. Smithers, but the state issued a waiver to help fulfill the goals of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Gender Equity Act. The 1996 law encourages the hiring of more women as police officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers.
Quackenbush said that although the couple had been working in the department together for a decade, they usually don’t work the same shift and that this was the first time they had responded to an incident as husband and wife.
“I’m just glad they were able to avoid having to use lethal force and that everything worked out OK.”